Managing The Noodle Bowl: The Fragility Of East Asian Regionalism
The paper argues that East Asian regionalism is fragile, since (i) each nation's industrial competitiveness depends on the smooth functioning of "Factory Asia" — in particular, on intra-regional trade; (ii) the unilateral tariff-cutting that created "Factory Asia" is not subject to WTO discipline (bindings); (iii) there is no "top-level management" to substitute for WTO discipline, i.e., to ensure that bilateral trade tensions — tensions that are inevitable in East Asia — do not spillover into region-wide problems due to lack of cooperation and communication. This paper argues that the window of opportunity for East Asian "vision" was missed; what East Asia needs now is "management", not vision. East Asia should launch a "New East Asian Regional Management Effort", with a reinforced ASEAN + 3 being the most likely candidate for the job. The first priority should be to bind the region's unilateral tariff cuts in the WTO.
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Volume (Year): 53 (2008)
Issue (Month): 03 ()
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