This paper applies an economic approach to empirically investigate differences in inward foreign direct investment (FDI) patterns between East Asia and Latin America and discusses the implication of regional trade arrangements. International production/distribution networks in East Asia effectively utilize the new economic logic of fragmentation, agglomeration, and optimal internalization and seem to greatly contribute to economic development. The paper examines statistical data for international trade as well as the activities of Japanese and U.S. multinational enterprises (MNEs) and argues that international production/distribution networks, particularly in machinery industries, are extensively developed in East Asia while remaining immature in Latin America. The impact of regional trade arrangements is substantially different depending on whether international production/distribution networks have already been developed or not. Our findings suggest that the impact of FTAA on FDI in Latin America by East Asian MNEs could be either positive or negative, depending on the content of FTAA and accompanying policies. If differentials between intra-regional tariffs and MFN-based tariffs are kept large, import-substituting FDI from East Asia may stagnate or even decrease. With a proper policy package to nurture international production/distribution networks, on the other hand, FDI from East Asia could be accelerated and contributed to deeper integration of Latin America.
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