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Managing The Noodle Bowl: The Fragility Of East Asian Regionalism



    (Graduate Institute of International Studies, 11a, Av de la Paix, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland)

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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Article provided by World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd. in its journal The Singapore Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 53 (2008)
Issue (Month): 03 ()
Pages: 449-478

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Handle: RePEc:wsi:serxxx:v:53:y:2008:i:03:p:449-478
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  1. Kimura, Fukunari & Takahashi, Yuya & Hayakawa, Kazunobu, 2007. "Fragmentation and parts and components trade: Comparison between East Asia and Europe," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 23-40, February.
  2. repec:idb:brikps:9179 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Kimura, Fukunari & Ando, Mitsuyo, 2003. "Fragmentation and agglomeration matter: Japanese multinationals in Latin America and East Asia," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 287-317, December.
  4. Hiratsuka, Daisuke, 2011. "Production Networks in Asia: A Case Study from the Hard Disk Drive Industry," ADBI Working Papers 301, Asian Development Bank Institute.
  5. Paul Krugman, 1995. "Growing World Trade: Causes and Consequences," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 327-377.
  6. Fukao, Kyoji & Ishido, Hikari & Ito, Keiko, 2003. "Vertical Intra-Industry Trade and Foreign Direct Investment in East Asia," Discussion Paper Series a434, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  7. Baldwin, Richard, 1997. "The Causes of Regionalism," CEPR Discussion Papers 1599, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Mitsuyo Ando & Fukunari Kimura, 2005. "The Formation of International Production and Distribution Networks in East Asia," NBER Chapters, in: International Trade in East Asia, NBER-East Asia Seminar on Economics, Volume 14, pages 177-216 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. repec:rus:hseeco:123689 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Ng, Francis & Yeats, Alexander, 2003. "Major trade trends in East Asia : what are their implications for regional cooperation and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3084, The World Bank.
  11. Patricia Augier & Michael Gasiorek & Charles Lai Tong, 2005. "The impact of rules of origin on trade flows," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(43), pages 567-624, 07.
  12. Dayaratna, Banda O.G. & Whalley, John, 2005. "Beyond Goods and Services: Competition Policy, Investment, Mutual Recognition, Movement of Persons, and Broader Cooperation Provisions of Recent FTAs Involving ASEAN Countries," Working Papers 24153, Canadian Agricultural Trade Policy Research Network.
  13. Kimura, Fukunari & Ando, Mitsuyo, 2005. "Two-dimensional fragmentation in East Asia: Conceptual framework and empirics," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 317-348.
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