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Open Economies Review






We analyze the changes in the composition of bilateral trade—and more specifically, in the new goods margin—following the free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by Korea between 2004 and 2008. We find that new goods trade increased disproportionately after the FTAs came into effect, and that least-traded goods (LTG)—those accounting for the lowest 10% of trade prior to the FTAs—ended up accounting for 37% of post-FTA trade with FTA partners. In contrast, the corresponding share for a comparable group of countries that did not sign FTAs with Korea was only half as large, averaging close to 20%. We also find that only less than 2% of all least-traded products accounted for most of the growth in LTG trade, and that those goods tended to be clustered in the same industries as the intensively-traded goods. Furthermore, a larger fraction of LTG became heavily traded for the case of FTA partners than for non-FTA countries. Finally, we find evidence that least-traded imports were subject to higher pre-FTA tariff protection than other products.


Author Posting. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018. This article is posted here by permission of Springer Science+Business Media for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in the Open Economies Review, 2018,

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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