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Managing the Noodle Bowl: The Fragility of East Asian Regionalism

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  • Baldwin, Richard

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Baldwin, Richard, 2006. "Managing the Noodle Bowl: The Fragility of East Asian Regionalism," CEPR Discussion Papers 5561, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5561
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard E. Baldwin, 1997. "The Causes of Regionalism," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(7), pages 865-888, November.
    2. Fukao, Kyoji & Ishido, Hikari & Ito, Keiko, 2003. "Vertical intra-industry trade and foreign direct investment in East Asia," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 468-506, December.
    3. 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, July.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Daisuke Hiratsuka, 2011. "Production Networks in Asia : A Case Study from the Hard Disk Drive Industry," Microeconomics Working Papers 23235, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. repec:idb:brikps:9179 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. O. G. Dayaratna Banda & John Whalley, 2005. "Beyond Goods and Services: Competition Policy, Investment, Mutual Recognition, Movement of Persons, and Broader Cooperation Provisions of Recent FTAs involving ASEAN Countries," NBER Working Papers 11232, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. repec:rus:hseeco:123689 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    East Asia; management not vision; noodle bowl; regionalism;

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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