Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies Working Paper
Since the mid-1980s, more regional trade arrangements (RTAs) have arisen between developing and developed countries than before. The evidence shows that MNCs are the major driving force of the new regionalism. The puzzle presented in this paper is why MNCs would like to propel new RTAs between developing and developed countries. The paper believes that the emergence and development of new regionalism is, to a great extent, related to the situation that MNCs wish to enter into developing countries markets. However, it is not easy for MNCs to access to this developing market. MNCs still have to be faced with challenges brought about by both their more and more public-good-like ownership advantages and the increasing cost of producing ownership advantages. If MNCs did not extend their market to the developing countries, they would not spread the cost of producing ownership advantages. However, if they did, they would face the risk that their property of public goods is freely ridden by developing countries due to no effective intellectual property protection (IPP). Therefore, MNCs have to produce much demand for building up new RTAs including developing countries to protect their ownership advantages, especially when they meet the difficulties in multinational negotiation in IPP.