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Asian Economic Integration and Cooperation: Challenges and Ways Forward for Pan-Asian Regionalism


  • Durgesh K. Rai



As the Asian economies have grown larger and become more complex, they have also be-come more integrated at both the regional and the subregional level. Yet although economic integration has increased, regionalism in the sense of economic cooperation at both the pan-Asian and subregional levels has lagged behind. Regionalism or economic cooperation in terms of bilateral or multilateral FTAs is a relatively new phenomenon, but one that has in-creased rapidly in recent years. However, the progress of Asian regionalism faces several challenges. Also, the increasing number of FTAs could lead to a “spaghetti-bowl effect” and reduce trade volume instead of increasing it. In addition to resolving the existing challenges, actors in the region need to convert some of the existing FTAs into a broader one that can serve as a hub for further integration. Given the potential economic gains and future eco-nomic dynamism of the region, this paper suggests the pursuit of the Comprehensive Eco-nomic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA) rather than the East Asia Free Trade Area (EAFTA).

Suggested Citation

  • Durgesh K. Rai, 2010. "Asian Economic Integration and Cooperation: Challenges and Ways Forward for Pan-Asian Regionalism," GIGA Working Paper Series 152, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:152

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard E. Baldwin, 2011. "Multilateralising Regionalism: Spaghetti Bowls as Building Blocks on the Path to Global Free Trade," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Integration, Volume I, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    economic integration; regionalism; economic cooperation; ASEAN; SAARC; spaghetti-bowl effect; FTAs;

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