Free Trade Agreements and the US-China-Australia Relationship in the Asia-Pacific Region

By He, Ling Ling; Sappideen, Razeen | Asia Pacific Law Review, January 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Free Trade Agreements and the US-China-Australia Relationship in the Asia-Pacific Region


He, Ling Ling, Sappideen, Razeen, Asia Pacific Law Review


Abstract

In the wake of the Asian century, the Asia-Pacific region has seen a proliferation of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). The driving force behind the initial formation of these agreements since the 1990s, however, has moved away from focusing on economic incentives to more strategic geopolitical concerns. This article examines the employment of FTAs by the United States (US), China, and Australia to further their geopolitical interests in the Asia- Pacific region in the context of the strong trading relationship between China and Australia on the one hand, and the strong strategic relationship the US has had with Australia on the other. Australia's roadmap to the future as set out in its recently released White Paper provides valuable insights into this interlinked relationship.

Trade theories articulate the benefits that flow from free trade between nations. By and large the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements (GATT, GATS, and TRIPS) seek to capture the benefits that flow from free trade. GATT and GATS also permit WTO member countries to enter into bilateral and multilateral Free Trade agreements (FTAs) in parallel with and outside the ambit of the WTO agreement requirements.1 Such agreements may confer special benefits and concessions on its member trading partners without violating the WTO agreements. There has been a healthy debate on whether the entering into of such bilateral agreements outside of the WTO agreements distorts the free flow of trade and the multilateral trading system.2 Nonetheless, the general principle that such agreements encourage the free flow of trade, at least as between the parties to the agreement, holds. More recently, however, these groupings have tended to be more exclusive, and selective, tending to keep out some countries seeking to join into these agreements. This suggests that there is much more at stake in the formation of these agreements and admission to membership into these groups than the mere fostering of free trade.

This paper examines some of these other factors at play in the formation of these trade agreements through a study of recent agreements entered into by the United States (US), China, and Australia with other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The discussion below is structured as follows. Part I examines some key FTAs to which each of these countries is party to; Part II examines factors other than trade at play in the negotiations of these agreements; Part III explains the geopolitical consequences of these groupings in light of international relations theory, and Part IV concludes.

I. US, China, Australia Free Trade Agreements

With the economic slowdown in the US and Europe, and the emergence of China as the world's second largest economy, the Asia-Pacific has become increasingly important both economically and politically - a point noted in the recently released Australian White Paper, Australia in the Asian Century.3 This has prompted the US to 'refocus' on the region, suggesting that the US has begun to realise that the Asia-Pacific region is no longer its exclusive playground. A major vehicle for the pursuance of such strategic policies has been through free trade agreements. This Part examines some recent trade agreements entered into or are under negotiation by these three countries. Agreements examined are the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) led by the US, the recently initiated Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) of which China is a foundation member, and the Trilateral FTA between China, Japan and South Korea.

The TPP Agreement, led by the US, is a multilateral deal originally signed between Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore in 2005, later expanded to include Mexico and Canada in June 2012, with Thailand considering joining it4 and Japan's recent announcement to join.5 The TPP is regarded as being a new generation FTA, more focused on competition policy, labour rights and environmental protection than on traditional trade liberalisation issues such as tariffand non-tariffbarriers, and the like. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Free Trade Agreements and the US-China-Australia Relationship in the Asia-Pacific Region
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.