Analysis of South Korea’s Bilateral Trade Flows with the Projected Asia-Pacific Mega-RTAs: A Gravity Model Approach

Gringer - Map of the Pacific Region (2009)


This thesis attempts to analyze the potential bilateral trade flows between South Korea and the members of the mega-RTAs, RCEP, TPP, and FTAAP. In order to do so, an augmented gravity model analysis between South Korea and the 23 member countries over a period of 17 years, from 1999 to 2015, was conducted.  The regression results confirm the basic assumptions of the gravity model and indicate that the partner country’s GDP has a strong, positive influence on trade flows. While the distant coefficient has a lesser effect than previous studies illustrate. Almost all of the FTA dummies included in the model turned out to not be statistically significant, but the one which proved to be statistically significant showed a high level of trade creation from the agreement. Moreover, based on the panel data estimation results, potential trade between South Korea and the 23 countries was estimated by the use of point estimated trade potential. The results suggest that the FTAAP and RCEP have the highest unused trade potential. The results from this study can be useful for the process of determining the future path of South Korea towards Asia-Pacific trade integration through mega-RTAs. In order to establish a foundation for future FTA policy, further research should include geopolitical aspects, trade in services, and other economic variables must be accounted for.

  Erik Alvær / Pusan National University GSIS

The Pivot to Asia: Political and Economic Ramifications of the KORUS Free Trade Agreement

Manny Francisco - ST Illustration (2016)


In 2012 the Obama administration announced its most ambitious, and perhaps definitive foreign policy initiative, otherwise known as the “Pivot to Asia”. The purpose of this reform was to divest American interest away from the Middle East, in order to augment trade, diplomacy, and stability in the Asia Pacific. Since its inception, the ‘Pivot’ has been primarily expressed as an economic policy, aimed at supporting regional and trans-pacific integration between U.S. allies via greater free-trade agreements and trade bloc initiatives. However, due to the historically unprecedented outcome of the 2017 U.S. presidential election, the future of America’s foreign policy in East Asia is highly uncertain. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to determine the ways in which the United States’ commitment to trans-pacific integration, as demonstrated by the Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), would evolve in an era of anti-globalist populism. The qualitative research for this project was conducted as a comparative literary analysis, which observed previous impact studies commissioned by the United States government. The results from these studies helped establish parameters used to contextualize ex-post data between the United States and South Korea. Whereas, the quantitative aspects of said research employed the informational resources, econometric modeling techniques, and computational software recommended by the Asian Development Bank FTA impact assessment manual: Methodology for Impact Assessment of Free Trade Agreements. Naturally, due to its recent implementation, any KORUS impact analysis is unable to determine the absolute value of benefits from trade between the United States and South Korea. Therefore, the data curated for this research was gathered in order to reassess the viability of U.S. hegemony in East Asia, as it relates to the economic implications and strategic ambitions of the KORUS Free Trade Agreement.

Erling Thompson / Pusan National University GSIS

A Study on the Effects of Strategic Orientations on Dynamic Capabilities and International Performance: Evidence from Korean Firms

Benjamin Grant


This study combines three strategic orientations: market orientation, learning orientation, and entrepreneurial orientation to show how these orientations affect exploration and exploitation to benefit the international performance of Korean firms. This model identifies a process of information creation, movement, and exploitation by firms. The dynamic capabilities framework and ambidexterity theory are employed to explain how these orientations affect a firm’s absorption capability, adaptation capability, and innovation capability to provide better international performance. Firms that embrace the three aforementioned orientations can improve knowledge exploration and exploitation to benefit international performance. This dissertation provides implications for Korean managers operating internationally, and a model that confirms the role of strategic orientations, dynamic capabilities, and their effects on international performance.