Chapter | Costs and Benefits of Regional Economic Integration in Asia | 2011

Regional Trade Integration and Multinational Firm Strategies

by Pol Antras and C. Fritz Foley

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effects of the formation of a regional trade agreement on the level and nature of multinational firm activity. We examine aggregate data that captures the response of U.S. multinational firms to the formation of the ASEAN free trade agreement. Observed patterns guide the development of a model in which heterogeneous firms from a source country decide how to serve two foreign markets. Following a reduction in tariffs on trade between the two foreign countries, the model predicts growth in the number of source-country firms engaging in foreign direct investment, growth in the size of affiliates that are active in reforming countries both before and after the tariff reduction, and an increase in the extent to which the sales of affiliates in reforming countries are directed towards other reforming countries. Analysis of firm-level responses to the creation of the ASEAN free trade agreement yields results that are consistent with these predictions.

Keywords: Forecasting and Prediction; Trade; Foreign Direct Investment; Multinational Firms and Management; Globalized Markets and Industries; Data and Data Sets; Agreements and Arrangements; United States;

Citation:

Antras, Pol, and C. Fritz Foley. "Regional Trade Integration and Multinational Firm Strategies." In Costs and Benefits of Regional Economic Integration in Asia, edited by Robert J. Barro and Jong-Wha Lee. Oxford University Press, 2011.