Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific Region

Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific Region

The Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific Region (FTAAP) is a proposed free trade area involving the member nations of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organization. Such a free trade area would involve the 21 member nations, including some of the world's fastest-growing economies and developed nations that constitute almost half of world trade. [ Plan B for World Trade] ] [ FTAAP] ]


The 21 member nations of APEC account for more than half the world economy and almost half of world trade, [ Plan B for World Trade] ] [ FTAAP] ] including developed nations such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and some of the nations enjoying the world's fastest growing economies like the People's Republic of China and Vietnam. Members committed to the development of free trade in 1993-94. [ Plan B for World Trade] ] The proposal for the FTAAP arises from frustration over the complex arguments and controversies stalling the Doha round of negotiations, by the member nations of the World Trade Organization and problems created by individual free trade agreements of varying terms, overlapping and confusing features between various nations in the region - there are as many as 60 free trade agreements and 117 being negotiated in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. [ FTAAP] ] [ APEC to consider free trade area] ] [ Plan B for World Trade] ] Since 2006, the APEC Business Advisory Council, promoting the theory that a free trade area has the best chance of converging the member nations and ensuring stable economic growth under free trade, has lobbied for the creation of a high-level task force to study and develop a plan for a free trade area. Ministers and leaders of member nations resolved at the APEC Economic Leader's Meeting on November 18-19, 2007 to discuss the feasibility of the Free Trade Area in 2008. [ APEC to consider free trade area] ]

Proposal and scope

The FTAAP has been promoted as a way to integrate and unify the expansion of free trade by individual nations and regions such as East Asia and South Asia, eliminating overlapping, conflicts over terms and barriers, unstable growth of free trade and trade imbalances. [ FTAAP] ] [ Plan B for World Trade] ] The FTAAP is more ambitious in scope than the Doha round, which limits itself to reducing trade restrictions. The FTAAP would create a free trade zone that would considerably expand commerce and economic growth in the most dynamic and largest economies. [ FTAAP] ] [ Plan B for World Trade] ] The economic expansion and growth in trade could exceed the expectations of other regional free trade areas such as the ASEAN Plus Three (ASEAN + China, Japan, and South Korea). [ Policy Briefs in International Economics] (PDF)] Some criticisms include that the diversion of trade within APEC members would create trade imbalances, market conflicts and complications with nations of other regions. [ Plan B for World Trade] ] The development of the FTAAP is considered to take many years, involving essential studies, evaluations and negotiations between member nations. [ FTAAP] ] It is also affected by the absence of political will and popular agitations and lobbying against free trade in domestic politics. [ FTAAP] ]

ee also

*Free Trade Area of the Americas
*List of free trade agreements
*Free trade areas in Europe (EU, EFTA, CEFTA)
*Transatlantic Free Trade Area (TAFTA)
*List of trade blocs
*List of international trade topics
*Free trade zone


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