MJIEL Vol 16 Issue 1 2019 - Article 1
International Legal Aspects of Free Trade Agreements in Northeast Asia
Asif H. Qureshi
ABSTRACT: Since around 2002, there has been a steady increase in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) in East Asia, in particular North-East Asia (NEA). China, Korea and Japan have all been actively engaged in negotiating and agreeing FTAs with third countries outside NEA, as well as of late in some measure as between the three States. This article takes a normative approach to the Westphalian spirit with which States including those in NEA embrace FTAs. This is undertaken first by setting out the legal framework under which the three States in North East Asia engage in the process of entering and implementing FTAs within their domestic systems; and second through a consideration of this comparative State practice from an International Law and policy (including ethical) perspective. This two-pronged exposition is accompanied by a brief focus on the efforts for a regional FTA within North East Asia. The article concludes that the ‘Westphalian approach’ to FTAs is now anachronistic. Equally this beggar-thy-neighbour FTA strategy is destructive and conflictual in the long run.

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