East Asia's Trade and Investment logo Is the world economy on a path to free trade, or is it headed for greater protectionism? The recent completion of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) provides a rare opportunity to expand global openness in trade and investment. But protectionist threats remain serious, and new initiatives and continued leadership are needed to maintain the momentum of international cooperation. East Asia is in a unique position to spark such progress. Because of its close economic ties to countries around the world, no other developing region has as much at stake in the free flow of trade and investment. And with its tremendous dynamism, East Asia is also in the best position to reduce trade barriers and relax restrictions on investment. This book makes a convincing case for global liberalization and compares alternative paths to that end. It suggests that certain regional actions, such as concerted efforts by East Asian governments to liberalize trade and investment, can bring great benefits to the region and the rest of the world. Indeed, a regional approach toward greater openness will do the most to sustain East Asia's rapid economic growth, provided it does not discriminate against countries outside the region. The effectiveness of this approach will be greater, and the gains to others stronger, if they too adopt nondiscriminatory liberalization.

Publisher: World Bank

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