China, Japan, and Korea have signed free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with many countries since the late 1990s. This study analyzes the determinants of staging categories for tariff elimination in FTA negotiations of these East Asian countries by using an ordered probit model. The two key findings are (a) each country had set up a product scope for tariff elimination and exclusion list efficiently to maximize its national economic interests, and (b) the staging categories were determined by product-level competitiveness, industrial characteristics, and political factors.

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