This month’s poll focuses on global trade integration. Participants were asked: ‘Which parts of the world would most benefit from improved regional trade agreements?’ The majority saw Asia as a major beneficiary of stronger trade agreements. Citing areas such as the Asean Free Trade Area, continued efforts to break down trade barriers were suggested as becoming reality soon.
In an economic environment dominated by unilateral policies in the US, this is especially encouraging for those who want to retain a free and multilateral commercial system.
Moreover, areas like Africa and the UK stand to gain from similar deals, especially with the UK preparing to begin individual trade negotiations when it officially leaves the European Union in March 2019. Other responses from an online poll included the US and Latin America.
The UK and the European Union will stand to gain the most from improved regional trade agreements.
Brigitte Granville, Queen Mary University of London
Japan will be a major beneficiary of the CPTPP and EUJEPA, both of which will become effective soon. CPTPP, which currently covers 11 countries will expand to include a few more Asean countries.
Akinari Horii, The Canon Institute for Global Studies
Africa stands to benefit. The COMESA-EAC-SADC Free Trade Agreement shows the potential of regional trade agreements in injecting dynamism to the economies of the region through enlarged market access and opportunities for investments.
Hemraz Jankee, formerly Bank of Mauritius
Asean would benefit most from improved regional trade arrangements. The Asean Free Trade Area has had a disappointing impact and needs to be strengthened by incorporating at least some trade in services.
Boyd McCleary, former British high commissioner to Malaysia
Latin America has the most potential.
Denis Macshane, former UK minister of Europe
Africa – it still has large gains to make from intra-regional trade and the expansion of infrastructure across the continent could facilitate goods trade in the process.
Elliot Hentov, State Street Global Advisors
Asia would benefit most. However, the region needs to improve its broader infrastructure such as its legal framework, supervisory arrangements, more integrated cross banking arrangement and integrated capital markets.
Hans Blommestein, Vivid Economics