Globalization and the Growth in Free Trade Agreements
In this article, Professor Shujiro Urata of the School of Social Sciences at Waseda University and of the Research Institute for Economy, Trade and Industry, gives an overview of the various types of regional trade agreements (RTAs), and examines the background to the growing trend towards regionalism in the 1990s. Focussing on the surge in free trade agreements (FTA), he explains why FTAs have become more popular than multilateral trade liberalization under the WTO. He describes the different types and characteristics of RTAs, the economic effects of FTAs including the static and dynamic effects, and their significance for the global and Japanese economies. He concludes that if Japan does not actively participate in FTAs, and instead chooses to ''cherry pick'' from the full range of agenda items, there is a danger that it will not be considered by other countries as a worthwhile FTA partner. If so, Japan will suffer the consequences of being excluded from other FTAs.