An ASEAN Economic Community and ASEAN+3: How Do They Fit Together?
ASEAN economic cooperation is simultaneously deepening (through commitment to the establishment of an ASEAN Economic Community) and widening (through greater cooperation with China, Japan and South Korea). How can these potentially divergent paths be reconciled, especially when, at the highest policy level, the emphasis of ASEAN+3 cooperation has moved away from region-wide efforts and towards separate ASEAN+1 agreements focused on trade. The author concludes that the leaders of the ASEAN+3 countries should not focus on bilateral FTAs; rather, they should immediately make a systematic effort to form an East Asia Free Trade Area. Some guidelines recently outlined by the PECC Trade Forum may provide some assistance.
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