Fears and Strategies: The EU, China and their Free Trade Agreements in East Asia
The stalemate at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha Round sparked a new wave of bilateral preferential and free trade agreements (FTAs). Nowhere has this been more evident than in the Asia Pacific region. Whilst there are economic reasons for FTAs, these are less efficient and more complex than multilateral agreements and most have had fairly small economic impacts. This article compares the strategies of a newcomer to the FTA arena, China, and the actor with the most cumulative FTAs, the European Union. It ponders on the different reasons informing their strategies and on how these may be affecting each other. It also considers the role of competitive fears and competitive diffusion in the formulation of their policies.