School of Business and Law
Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China
© 2020 by the authors. The business of international trade has never been identified as zero-sum. Yet, dependence on regional agreements to provide alternate means for countries to overlook shortcomings persists. China's recent rise up the trade value-chain has fostered an assumption that the regional agreement provides various advantages to exports from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries. This paper provides an empirical assessment of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) impact on ASEAN export efficiency into the Chinese market, in pre and post eras. Using a structured gravity approach to estimate potential export pattern at aggregate and industry level, this research indicates that though not consistent across years, the ACFTA offers improvements to ASEAN exports to China. No clear effects of the ACFTA can be extrapolated from the years surrounding the initial signing (Article 8-2004). However, following its full enactment (2010), the ACFTA resulted in more sustainable trade from ASEAN members towards China, at both the industry and country levels. While seeing improvements in export efficiency during its era, ACFTA's facilitation of efficiency measures with China came at no expense to other major export destinations.
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