Public Policies in East Asian Development: Facing New Challenges

By F. Gerard Adams; William E. James | Go to book overview

3
Trade Trends and Policy Issues in
East Asian Developing Economies
William E. James
TRENDS IN WORLD TRADE AND PRODUCTION: IMPLICATIONS FOR EAST ASIAN DEVELOPING ECONOMIES
World goods and services trade volume has been expanding more rapidly than real world output during the last decade (Table 3.1). This can be seen from estimates of actual growth and forecasts of future growth of world production and trade volume. The high elasticity of world trade with respect to world output may be explained by:
1. Improvements in transport and communications technologies that have lowered the cost of conducting international transactions;
2. Liberalization of international trade through elimination of traditional nontariff barriers coupled with tariff reductions that have been undertaken unilaterally, regionally, and multilaterally; and
3. The increasing role of transnational corporations brought about by liberalization and expansion of flows of foreign direct investment.

East Asian developing economies, in particular, have enjoyed a rising share of world trade, as income growth has been extremely rapid in recent decades ( World Bank, 1993; Oshima, 1993; James et al., 1987). Between 1990 and 1996, the share in world merchandise trade of ten East Asian developing economies ( China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand) rose from 11% to 17%. 1 Unilateral liberalization measures have helped these economies to achieve such a phenomenal increase in world trade share. For example, large emerging economies in East Asia, including China and Indonesia,

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