Volume 40 (2006) / Issue 4
Rahul Sen, '“New Regionalism” in Asia: A Comparative Analysis of Emerging Regional and Bilateral Trading Agreements involving ASEAN, China and India' (2006) 40 Journal of World Trade, Issue 4, pp. 553–596
The term “new regionalism” has come to resemble the ongoing phenomenon of proliferation of bilateral and regional trading agreements in the Asia-Pacific, especially in the aftermath of the regional financial crisis of 1997-1998. While ASEAN economies, beginning with Singapore, were the first to embark on this route, other major Asian economies, viz. China and more recently, India have followed suit. Although several studies have suggested adoption of a common framework on such agreements to be more WTO-consistent, there has been a dearth of studies on this issue in the Asian context.This article, while exploring some of the rationale behind new regionalism in Asia, provides a comparative analysis of the ongoing bilateral and regional initiatives involving ASEAN, China and India and attempts to analyse the similarities and differences among them with respect to the negotiating framework, coverage of issues and depth of its commitments. The article observes that most of these initiatives are at best resulting in a partial liberalization, and are unlikely to be building blocks towards global free trade on their own, unless supported by unilateral and multilateral liberalization.
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