Asia–Pacific Trade Agreement: Exploring the potential for enhancing intraregional trade

Asia–Pacific Trade Agreement: Exploring the potential for enhancing intraregional trade

Date: 
Friday, September 28, 2007
Type: 
Public information and advocacy materials
Abstract

This note provides some basic information on the history of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (previously the Bangkok Agreement) and its main characteristics. The trade environment of APTA members is described in terms of their dependence on trade by comparing their levels of exports and imports, rankings, dependence on trade taxes for revenue purposes and their openness. A number of APTIAD interactive trade indicators are used to analyse and track developments of intraregional trade of APTA and its members. It is apparent that the dependence of all individual members on trade in general is higher than is their dependence on trade with other members of APTA. It is also evident that APTA’s orientation towards trade with the rest of the world has not been changed dramatically in the
past decade. Notwithstanding that, APTA’s intraregional trade is strengthening. The complementarity index shows that there is increasing fitness between APTA’s export and import profiles, even though this is not shared by all individual members. Intra-industry trade remains at a moderate level, but it is important that new trade also reflects similar degree of intra-industry nature. The relatively limited expansion of intraregional trade could be associated with a partial scope of liberalization, despite its attempt to base liberalization on the set of simplified trade rules. Finally, there is asymmetry in terms of individual members’ relations with APTA. While the APTA market seems to be most important for the Republic of Korea, as its current share of export dedicated to APTA is more than 23 per cent,
it is a source of only 7.4 per cent of PTA imports. China’s position is almost balanced with 6.2 per cent of its exports going to APTA while APTA is buying 5.2 per cent of its imports from China. On the other hand, while 1.7 per cent of exports from Bangladesh are destined for the APTA market, APTA buys only 0.01 per cent of its imports from Bangladesh. Yet, almost 30 per cent of Bangladesh’s imports come from APTA.

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