Trivia Time! What's the World's Largest Trade Bloc?

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 1/31/2010 12:31:00 AM
What's the world's largest trade bloc?

a. North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
b. European Union (EU)
c. Mercado Común del Sur (Mercosur)
d. China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA)

OK, so that's a trick question. We need to be more specific:

If you're thinking in terms of combined population, a free trade agreement which came into effect at the start of the year that received very little coverage in the Western-centric media (with some exceptions) is the correct answer--d. From Xinhua:
The China-ASEAN free trade area covered a population of 1.9 billion and a combined gross domestic product close to 6 trillion U.S. dollars. It is the world's largest trading bloc in terms of population covered and the third largest in terms of trading volume.
Third place in trading volume terms is not to be sneezed at, either. It's a common criticism of Western media--particularly the American variety--that even "international" news tends to be parochial in nature. If it cannot be related to America somehow, then it probably won't receive much airtime. As if we needed any more evidence...

If you're thinking in terms of intraregional trade volume, though, then the EU scores a decisive victory.

If you're thinking in terms of combined nominal GDP, it's still the European Union at $18.4 trillion followed by NAFTA in the runner-up spot at $16.8T, although NAFTA inches ahead if combined GDP is expressed in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.

Anyway, I just felt like pointing these out after noticing that my earlier post on the China-ASEAN FTA didn't mention the remarkable size of the nascent grouping even if the commitments involved are not quite as deep as those as in NAFTA, the EU, or Mercosur for that matter. (To be fair, a China-Vatican FTA or CHIVFTA as inconceivable as it sounds would dwarf NAFTA or EU in population terms given China's 1.3 billion person population.) Armed with this trivia, it's time to stump everyone else!