Free Trade Agreements in Asia: Are they good for business?

24 July 2009 09:00 - 10:30 GMT+00
Public event

Ganeshan Wignaraja -
Principal Economist, Office of Regional Economic Integration, Asian Development Bank

Susan Prowse
- Programme Leader, Trade Policy, ODI

Dirk Willem te Velde -
Director of Programmes, International Economic Development Group, ODI


A lively debate is taking place over the impact of free trade agreements (FTAs) on business in East Asia. On the one hand there are those who believe the agreements are harmful and disruptive and on the other hand some see net beneficial effects in terms of regional liberalization and a building block to multilateral liberalization. There has been a lack of enterprise-level data which has made it has made it difficult to resolve this debate.

At this event Ganeshan Wignaraja, Principal Economist at the Asian Development Bank’s Office of Regional Economic Integration, presented new evidence from surveys of over 800 East Asian firms (in Japan, China, Singapore, Korea, Thailand and the Philippines). This seminar addressed the critical question of whether the Asian system of multiple overlapping FTAs is harmful to business activity particularly small SMEs.