This paper attempts to identify the factors of success and propose the process of the interaction between firm managers and outside experts in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects by Japanese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As FDI by SMEs, which don’t have sufficient resources, increase in Japan, the utilization of outside experts is expected to increase since FDI is considered as the strategic decision making that has high uncertainty and complexity. While it becomes key how effectively SMEs can utilize outside experts, the prior studies including the studies on the motivation of FDI since Hymer (1960), and the research on decision making process of FDI since Aharoni (1966) has been traditionally focusing on large multinational companies and do not respond adequately to the practical demands of SMEs. Therefore, the author analyzed the interaction between firm managers and outside experts qualitatively. The result of qualitative analysis (Grounded Theory Approach: GTA) presented the five-step process model including "cognition of context and trust", "commitment", "psychological contract", " deepening of support by Emergence", and "achievements by support". This conceptual model is beneficial for both managers and outside experts to understand the picture of effective support process.
FTAs in East Asia have proliferated with the onset of 21st century. Establishment of ASEAN Economic Community and formation of ASEAN plus 1 FTAs is main achievement of East Asia Economic Integration in the first ten years of 21st century. Since 2010, East Asian countries have embarked on the realization of region-wide Asian FTA. As for region-wide FTA, two concepts were proposed. One is Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) which is originated in trade liberalization projects of APEC and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which was proposed by ASEAN being influenced by the start of negotiation of TPP.
TPP was signed in February of 2016 after 5 years of hard negotiation. TPP was called 21st Century FTA because of high level of liberalization and advanced rules such as discipline of State Enterprise and e-Commerce. After sign of the agreement, it was most probable that TPP would become FTAAP (FTA of Asia Pacific) as East Asian countries such as Korea, Thailand and Philippines expressed the intention of joining TPP. However, President Trump withdrew from TPP when he took office in January of 2017. Remaining 11 countries started to negotiate TPP 11 from March of 2017 and reached agreement substantially in November. TPP11 (CPTPP) was signed by 11 countries in March of 2018. TPP 11 maintained the characteristics of TPP as 21st Century FTA though it suspended 22 stipulations. Until now, Thailand and Columbia expressed the intention of participation in TPP11 and various countries including UK showed interest in joining TPP11. TPP11 was concluded in a very short time and many countries desired to join because these countries were concerned about the expansion of protectionism.
Though not high in liberation rate and not advanced in rule if compared to TPP, RCEP is a quite important region-wide Asian FTA because it includes production centers of manufacturing industries and emerging consumer markets such as China, ASEAN and India. Negotiation of RCEP was being delayed, but negotiating parties agreed in July of 2018 to advance negotiation to reach agreement by the end of 2018.
Economic integration of East Asia becomes more and more important to maintain the trade regime in the Asia-Pacific which is free and based on rule and to prevent the expansion of protectionism caused by Trump Administration.