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Exporters get competitive edge with FTAs in Asia: survey

The survey was conducted in the first quarter of this year, covering senior executives from 800 companies in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

SINGAPORE: Free trade agreements in Asia provide exporters with a competitive edge. This is according to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, and sponsored by banking giant HSBC.

The survey found that 86 per cent of exporters in Asia who use trade pacts say their exports have increased as a result. But the study also found that some exporters were put off by the complexity of agreement terms used in trade pacts.

52 per cent of Singapore exporters cited this as a key reason why they were not making use of available trade agreements, while 23 per cent said the benefits do not compensate for the difficulties. Regionally, the poll found that each trade pact in Asia is used by only 26 per cent of exporters on average. Complexity of agreement terms and signing with unattractive markets were the main reasons cited for not using the trade agreements.

However, 79 per cent of those polled agree that signing more trade pacts will increase their exports. And 69 per cent agree that trade agreements are the best hope for the future of their overseas business.

The survey was conducted in the first quarter of this year (2014), covering senior executives from 800 companies in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

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