Directions : Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words / phrases have been printed in BOLD to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.

The great recession hasn't been great for free trade. An unemployment has risen throughout the world, governments have become more focused on protecting their own industries than on promoting international commerce. The U.S., though typically an enthusiastic supporter of open markets, in duded buy American clauses in its stimulus package and propped up its failing auto industry with handouts. But according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), in the part of the world that was hit hardest by the trade crash-Asia, the number of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) signed by Asian countries has grown from just three in 2000 to 56 by the end of August 2009. Nineteen of those FTAs are among 16 Asian economies, a trend that could help the region become a powerful trading bloc. The drive to lower trade barriers has taken on fresh urgency amid the recession. As Asian manufacturing networks become more intertwined and as Asian consumers become wealthier regional commerce is becoming critical to future economic expansions. Intraregional trade last year made up 57% of total Asian trade, up from 37% in 1980. In the past Asia produced for America and Europe, now Asia is producing for Asia. of course, Asia is still dependent on sales to the West. But FTAs could reduce the regions exposure to the United States by giving Asian companies preferential treatment in selling to Asian companies and consumers. There benefits could come with downsides, however. According to experts, FTAs create a nonlevel playing field with advantages for Asian countries. If the most dynamically growing part of the global economy gives the U.S. restricted access it will impact global balance. Companies in countries like the United States left out of the trade pacts could face disadvantages when trying to tap fast-growing Asian markets. This, in turn, could have a negative impact on efforts to rebalance excessive debt in the U.S. and excessive savings in Asia. Still, the benefits of greater regional integration could prove powerful enough to overcome the roadblocks. In Asia, the only thing everyone agrees upon is business. If it does, the world economy may never be the same.

Question 74

Which of the following describes expert predictions about trade pacts between Asian countries?


The author is skeptical that FTAs could create an imbalance between signatory and nonsignatory countries. 

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