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Working paper Economic Integration in Northeast Asia: Searching for a Feasible Approach 경제통합

저자 정인교 발간번호 99-25 자료언어 English 발간일 1999.12.20

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역내 한·중·일 3국간 경제의 상호의존성 심화, 역내 산업내 중복투자의 해소, 세계경제의 블록화 추세에 대비, 어업권, 국경간 공해 문제 등 역내국간 공동 이해조정 필요 분야의 증가 등의 이유로 동북아 경제협력체 설립의 필요성은 증가하고 있다. 동북아 국가들이 모두 어떤 지역무역협정에도 가입하지 않고 있는 가운데, 최근 한국과 일본 정부가 지역무역협정의 체결에 적극성을 보이고 있다는 점과, WTO 가입을 위해 중국의 무역자유화가 확대되고, 제도상의 선진화가 이루어지고 있어 동북아 지역의 경제통합체 추진 전망은 과거 어느 때보다도 높아지고 있다.

그러나 역내 경제격차 확대, 무역수지불균형의 고착, 중국의 사회주의 체제 고수, 역사적 잔재 등으로 인해 동북아 경제통합체 실현에 대한 장애요인도 상존하고 있다. 본 연구결과에 따르면, 동북아 지역 경제 특성상 NAFTA와 같이 단기적 시장접근 확대 중심의 경제통합은 실현되기 어려울 것으로 보인다. 역내 3국간 산업 및 교역구조, 상이한 관세체계 등의 이유로 단순한 역내 시장접근이 확대될 경우 일본은 시장접근 확대 및 막대한 무역수지 개선을 기대할 수 있으나, 한국과 중국은 무역수지 악화외에 산업구조가 역행될 것으로 예상되므로 받아들이기 어려울 것으로 전망된다. 그렇다고 본 연구의 결과가 동북아 경제통합을 시도하지 말아야 함을 의미하지는 않는다. 즉, 역내 경제간 상호의존도의 증가, 주요 산업에 집중된 중복투자 문제의 해소, 확대·심화되는 지역주의에 공동 대응 등의 이유로 역내 경제통합의 필요성은 오히려 증가하고 있다.

따라서 동 지역의 경제협력체는 NAFTA와 같은 시장접근 확대 우선 통합보다는 중단기적(2010년까지)으로 무역제도 부문의 개선과 조화를 기하고, 역내 무역불균형 심화를 방지할 수 있는 3국간 공동 정책을 실행함으로써 경제통합의 토대를 마련한 후, 장기적으로(2010년 이후) 상호호혜적 시장접근 확대를 추구하는 전략의 수립이 필요하다.
The need for economic cooperation in Northeast Asian region is increasing due to several factors. These are the deepening of the economic interdependence among the three countries; the need for the prevention of overlapping investment in major regional industries; as a response to the formation of economic blocs in the world economy and the growing number of fields requiring the coordination of common interests such as fishing activity rights and the problem of trans-boundary pollution. None of the Northeast Asian countries has joined any regional trade agreement so far but Japan and Korea have recently renewed their interest in concluding some kind of regional trade agreement. Also, China has intensified its trade liberalization process and tried to modernize its institutions in order to become a member of the WTO. Thus, the possibility of establishing Northeast Asian economic cooperation is higher than ever before.

Economic cooperation should be pursued through a preferential trading bloc that is compatible with WTO rules and that can gain momentum in the process of implementation. One possibility is to conclude a close economic cooperation organization in the region. An alternative can be an FTA among the three. However, this option has so far not been under serious consideration, due to the socialist regime of China, the attitude of Northeast Asian countries suspicious toward Japan because of the history of the past, and the fear of the aggravation of existing economic gaps. But the need for economic cooperation among East Asian countries has been reemphasized after recent changes in the international economic environment, especially after the East Asian financial crisis.

To examine the economic feasibility of Northeast Asian regional economic integration through the expansion of market approach, let us analyze the economic effects of trade liberalization between Korea and Japan, prior to exploring a simulation of economic integration of the three countries. If Korea and Japan eliminate tariff barriers on a preferential basis, Korea is projected to lose by USD 2.0 billion annually, and its trade balance with Japan will worsen by USD 7.1 billion. On the contrary, it appears that Japan will realize substantial gains. This result can be explained by the special conditions of both countries' economies. Korea's major industries overlap with Japan and thus are trade competitors, while Korea has weaker international competitiveness. Moreover, Korea's general tariff rates are higher than Japan's. Therefore, trade liberalization between the two countries will enhance Japanese price competitiveness over Korea's. Korea's dependence on high-tech industrial products from Japan will be higher, while Korea's industry structure will tend towards the development of low value-added industries such as textiles, clothing, shoes, etc, which will deteriorate the overall efficiency of resource allocation in Korea.

Next, a simulation was performed by adding China to the Japan-Korea FTA. Results similar to those in Korea-Japan FTA were obtained. The trade liberalization of the whole Northeast Asian region, however, would increase intraregional trade in a considerable way but at the same time, there is also a possibility that it would deteriorate the regional trade imbalance. This shows the importance of having a well-thought out strategy in achieving regional economic integration.
According to simulation results, the formation of an FTA would substantially improve Korea's and Japan's trade balances, while China would experience a sizeable increase in its trade deficit. This indicates that simple enhancement of market access by removing tariffs and non-tariff barriers (NTBs) within a short period of time is not a feasible approach for economic integration in Northeast Asia. Therefore, in creating an FTA, measures to mitigate anticipated problems should be devised. In creating the Northeast Asian Free Trade Area, we need to implement a strategy that will gradually lead to regional economic integration while overcoming the aforementioned obstacles.
Executive Summary

I. Introduction

II. The Evaluation of the Possibility of Economic Integration through the
Expansion of Market Access
1. Discussion on Northeast Asia Economic Integration
2. Northeast Asia Economic Integration: Empirical Results

III. Searching for Feasible Approaches

IV. Conclusion

References

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