Seminar: Strategic Selection of FTA Partners: The Attractiveness of Korea


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Brown Bag Seminar by Jo Van Biesebroeck

When: Jan 5 2012 - 12:00pm until Jan 5 2012 - 1:00pm
Where: John A. Burns Hall, Room #3012, East-West Center

Over the last five years, Korea has signed Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with both the European Union and the United States. After years of negotiations the agreement with Canada is also close to completion and many more are in the pipeline. Japan, on the other hand, has not entered into a single FTA. While it might be less eager to liberalize trade, we demonstrate that Japan is also a less attractive trade partner for other countries. We exploit industrial organization models of product differentiation, to demonstrate that both passthrough rates of tariff reductions and cross-product substitutions make both consumers and producers in developed countries prefer an FTA with Korea over Japan. Given the quality upgrading in Korean products over the last decade, these same mechanisms imply that Korean’s attractiveness is unlikely to last.

Jo Van Biesebroeck is visiting the East West Center as a POSCO fellow. He is a Professor of Economics at the K.U.Leuven (Belgium) an a research affiliate at the CEPR (UK). He obtained his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 2001 and worked for the next 8 years at the University of Toronto, specializing in the areas of industrial organization, international trade, and development economics. His work on the automotive industry includes studies on the adoption of flexible technology, the automotive value chain, interaction between innovation and market structure, strategic trade liberalization, and outsourcing to low-wage countries. His work on international trade is increasingly focused on the Chinese economy and the impact of trade liberalization and quality upgrading by exporters. He has advised the Canadian and Flemish governments on trade and industrial policy issues and in 2009 he was awarded an European ERC grant.

Primary Contact Info:
Name: Cynthia Nakachi
Phone: (808) 944-7439
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