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Regional Cooperation in East Asia and FTA Strategies

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  • Peter Drysdale

Abstract

The need for deeper financial and trade cooperation in East Asia became clear through the experience of the East Asian financial crisis. The imperatives of East Asian cooperation mean that the quest for East Asian influence and leadership on regional and international affairs through ASEAN + 3 will continue. However, the creation of an East Asian Economic Community requires leadership and a model that is consistent with East Asian (not European or American) circumstances. Japan’s changing role in the regional economy prompted policy initiatives such as espousal of bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) aimed at closer East Asian regional economic and political links. This fundamental shift in Japan’s trade policy diplomacy was effected without public debate in Japan and the reactions to it from partner countries, almost entirely unanticipated by Japanese policymakers, led to some confusion in policy strategy. Discriminatory regional trade arrangements do not reflect the needs and circumstances of the East Asian economy at the beginning of the twenty-first century, and specifically the need to accommodate the growth and opening of the Chinese economy within the regional and global economic systems. The proliferation of FTA arrangements, with increasingly complicated rules of origin, is more likely to distort and derail rather than to encourage broader and deeper economic integration. The objectives of ‘closer economic partnership’ arrangements are better served by nondiscriminatory trade agreements than by distorting and limited bilateral FTAs. Many of the features of the East Asian economy have not fundamentally changed. It continues to be distinguished by its extra-regional trade and economic reach. Large flows of FDI, particularly into China, cement economic interaction with the global economy. Both economic and political considerations have influenced thinking among the Chinese leadership about the change in trade policy strategy. The sensible and rational choice for China is a global choice, the acceptance and entrenchment of global obligations and responsibilities in a multilateral ‘pluralist’ setting.

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File URL: https://crawford.anu.edu.au/pdf/pep/pep-344.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Australia-Japan Research Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University in its series Asia Pacific Economic Papers with number 344.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:csg:ajrcau:344

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  1. Xu, Xinpeng, 2002. "Have the Chinese provinces become integrated under reform?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 116-133.
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Cited by:
  1. Erlinda M. Medalla & Jenny D. Balboa, 2010. "Prospects for Regional Cooperation between Latin America and the Caribbean Region and the Asia and Pacific Region: Perspective from East Asia," Working Papers id:3129, eSocialSciences.
  2. Cheong, Inkyo, 2013. "Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Evaluation and Implications for East Asian Regionalism," ADBI Working Papers 428, Asian Development Bank Institute.
  3. Erlinda M. Medalla & Jenny D. Balboa, 2010. "Prospects for Regional Cooperation between Latin America and the Caribbean Region and the Asia and Pacific Region : Perspective from East Asia," Governance Working Papers 23100, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  4. Nu Nu Lwin, 2009. "Analysis on International Trade of CLM Countries," IDE Discussion Papers 215, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
  5. Erlinda M. Medalla & Jenny D. Balboa, 2010. "Prospects for Regional Cooperation between Latin America and the Caribbean Region and the Asia and Pacific Region : Perspective from East Asia," Governance Working Papers 22813, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.

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