Asian and Pacific states have developed numerous multilateral trade agreements, particularly among Pacific Rim states. A region with some of the highest economic growth rates in the world, the Pacific Rim has seen trade agreements flourish as countries have begun working together to lower trade barriers and encourage economic growth. The trade agreements listed here is not complete by any means, but should cover all of the major, multilateral agreements.

General information on the region.

Asean Free Trade Area (AFTA)

AFTA is a part of the larger ASEAN trade agreement, and works to lower tariff barriers between member countries. The ASEAN free trade area (AFTA)is to be phased in over the next 15 years, and aims to increase trade among ASEAN members; it may also lead to free trade arrangements with other countries.

Members (7):
Brunei Indonesia Malaysia
the Philippines Singapore Thailand

Asean Free Trade Area Home Page.
AFTA Chronology

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC)

Founded in 1989 to provide a discussion forum for countries to discuss a wide range of economic issues, promote multi-lateral cooperation amoung market-oriented economies throughout the Pacific Rim. APECs 18 member countries hope to achieve free and open trade and investment throughout the region by the year 2020.

Members (18):
Australia Brunei Canada Chile
China Chinese Taipei Hong Kong Indonesia
Japan Mexico New Zealand North Korea
Papua New Guinea the Philippines Singapore South Korea
Thailand United States

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum Home Page.
A brief history of APEC.
APEC Guide for the Perplexed.

Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Established in 1967, ASEAN has 7 members. ASEAN was formed "to accelerate the economic growth, social progress, and cultural development" of Pacific Rim countries.

Members (7):
Brunei Indonesia Malaysia
the Philippines Singapore Thailand

Association of South-East Asian Nations Home Page.
ASEAN trade agreements.

Agreement on the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT)

This was the main economic instrument used by ASEAN to implement AFTA in order to gradually lower tariffs among member countries.

CEPT Information.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

Established in 1985, SAARC is a trade agreement among southern asian states to accelerate the process of economic and social development in member states, through joint action in the agreed areas of cooperation between the 7 member states. The Indian Prime Minister has called for preferential tariff cuts, dismantling para-tariff and non-tariff barriers, and efforts to bridge the information gap between members.

Members (7):
Bangledesh Bhutan India
Nepal Pakistan Maldives
Sri Lanka

Home Page.
SAARC Trade report.

South Asian Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA)

The sixth SAARC Summit in Colombo in 1991 decided to establish a SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA), which laid the foundation of cooperation in the vital area of trade. This involves phased dismantling of trade barriers. SAPTA also contains provisions giving special and favourable treatment to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the SAARC region.

Members (7):
Bangledesh Bhutan India
Nepal Pakistan Maldives
Sri Lanka

South Pacific Regional Trade & Economic Cooperation Agreement (SPARECA)

Trade agreement between Australia and New Zealand to encourage economic growth between the two countries and around the Pacific Rim.

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This page created by Jennifer Leeper.