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International Trade Alerts

Asia-Pacific FTAs: New agreements offer cost savings, investment protections and competitive advantages


Together with C&M International, Crowell and Moring's Market Access Team assists companies to monitor the multitude of new developments in free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations and take advantage of the cost-saving opportunities and the rights they establish for producers and investors.

Please find our new FTA FOCUS newsletter here for more information on the many new trade opportunities available to companies doing business in Asia.

The pace of trade liberalization on a country-to-country (bilateral) basis through the negotiation of free trade agreements (FTAs) has accelerated at an unprecedented pace in 2009. While global trade talks at the World Trade Organization (WTO) have stagnated and the Obama Administration's trade agenda is still taking shape, other countries have continued to pursue active trade agendas to create new business opportunities for global manufacturers, farmers, and service providers.

Nowhere is the escalation in negotiations more evident than in Asia, where some of the largest developed and developing economies in the world are now lowering barriers to trade, reducing costs for manufacturers and service providers, and enhancing protections for intellectual property. According to the Asian Development Bank, there are 166 agreements in force in the region as of June 2009. China alone has agreements in force or pending implementation with 17 countries, is actively negotiating with 16 more, and is planning to begin negotiations with some of the largest remaining countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including India, Japan and Korea.

Differences among the many new FTAs covering the Asia-Pacific region make clear that not all FTAs are equal. There are differences with respect to product coverage, pace of tariff elimination, and degree of protection of investment and intellectual property rights. Companies that understand the differences among the various agreements and how the agreements all fit together can make investments and manage their commercial relationships so as to create cost-savings and maximize their advantages over competitors.

How the Crowell and Moring Market Access Team Can Help

Together with C&M International, Crowell & Moring's Market Access team of experts in FTA negotiations and related advocacy is ready to help you to more strategically utilize the network of agreements in Asia.

Please contact Patricia Wu for more information about how we can help your company to:

Create cost savings: By analyzing the vast network of existing agreements and agreements under negotiation to determine how they may affect your production processes, supply chains, and investment decisions;

Manage trade and investment risks: By analyzing protections accorded to foreign investment and intellectual property under different trade agreements, monitoring countries' practices in enforcing those protections, and gathering information on the status of pending and proposed trade and investment agreement negotiations;

Maximize competitive advantages: By making your interests known to governments during trade and investment agreement negotiations and demonstrating that those interests are consistent with the broader public interest being advanced through negotiations.

Please contact for more information.