ADB Working Paper Series on Regional Economic Integration 14
As East Asia becomes increasingly integrated through market-driven trade and FDI activities, free trade agreements (FTAs) are proliferating. Consolidation of multiple and overlapping FTAs into a single East Asian FTA can help mitigate the harmful noodle bowl effects of different or competing tariffs, standards, and rules. A region-wide FTA will also encourage participation of low-income countries and reduce trade-related business costs, particularly for small and medium enterprises. A computable general equilibrium (CGE) model examines the economic impact of various types of FTAs in East Asia (among ASEAN+1's, ASEAN+3, and ASEAN+6) finding that consolidation at the ASEAN+6 level would yield the largest gains to East Asia among plausible regional trade arrangements.