This textbook explains the politics of free trade agreements in Japan and South Korea.
Examining free trade agreements in Japan and South Korea since the late 1990s, Choi and Oh analyze the role of institutions, political leaders, sectoral interests, and civil society in placing the two countries on alternate paths of free trade agreements at different points in time. Systematically approaching the politics of free trade agreements from each perspective, they expose the domestic political underpinnings of free trade agreements in a global trade order that is increasingly fraught with conflict.
A valuable textbook for students of international political economy and international trade in East Asia, particularly those focusing on Japan and South Korea. It’s also a useful resource for scholars and policymakers looking to better understand trade politics in East Asia.
"An old saying goes, ‘Good medicine is bitter’. Likewise, trade liberalization has always been a bitter swallow for developing countries including Korea. But why Japan, a large developed economy, was shy for so long a time! The answer, as I’ve found in this book, is whether the political leadership has a vision for the future and is courageous enough to say to the people – ‘let us not keep back but come out and play!’" - Kim Jong-hoon, former Minister for Trade, Korean chief negotiator for the KORUS FTA negotiations
"Korea and Japan have adamantly advocated the multilateral trading rules while protecting their sensitivities such as agriculture. Korea’s initiative to conclude high quality FTAs with the U.S. and EU stimulated Japan, which became belatedly a hub of Mega-FTAs. As FTAs require fundamental structural changes to keep economic competitiveness as well as to support disadvantaged sectors, the negotiations per se are inevitably politically charged. The authors aptly illustrate contrasting features surrounding the evolution of the FTA policies of the two countries. This volume is a must-read to those who wish to get insights on how trade negotiations are motivated, designed and carried out, particularly in countries which have long protected their vulnerabilities." - Choi Seokyoung, former Korean ambassador to Geneva, Korean chief negotiator for the Korea-EU FTA negotiations