At the start of 2010 a new free trade area was established incorporating China and the six founding members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). These countries are Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. The aim is to eliminate 90% of imported goods. This deal created the largest trade area in the world, with nearly 1.9bn people. Although there are undoubted gains there have also been warnings from South East Asia that some industries are not ready to compete with China and that jobs will be lost.
1. What is a free trade area?
2. Outline the potential advantages and disadvantages of joining this area for the member countries.
3. What factors determine the extent to which industries within a country gain or lose?