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Applied Economics ; : 1-13, 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1937500


This paper investigates the effects of trade regionalism in East Asia from 1995 to 2018, by applying a series of gravity models. An initial, basic gravity model is repeatedly augmented to account for a range of economic, geographical, cultural, and above all institutional factors representing free trade agreements in effect. Unlike previous studies, this investigation distinguishes between the bilateral and multilateral measures of regional trading arrangements. Two interesting findings are reported. First, the results confirm the impact of trade regionalism on the export flows between the economies of East Asia in the period under study. Second, the effects of multilateral trading agreements vary greatly depending on the agreement and on the particular country's range of influence, in particular cases showing no sufficient economic benefits. Overall, the results point to the complementarity of bilateral and multilateral trading arrangements in the region and to the emergence of a certain distinctive model of cooperation and integration in East Asia - which has been underpinned during the COVID-19 pandemic by the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and which will be further verified in the post-COVID character of global trade and regional trading arrangements.