The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Preferential trade agreements (PTAs) in the Asia-Pacific region have proliferated rapidly over the past five years and are creating a complex web of intersecting bilateral and regional trade agreements. This paper describes the proliferation of these PTAs, discusses their characteristics and implementation, and assesses their potential effects. Realizing the potential gains from Asia-Pacific PTAs requires a commitment to liberalize sensitive sectors, to maintain consistent provisions, and to enforce agreements. Other factors, including administrative complications, also could undermine any potential gains.