CHANGING REGIONALISM IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA: SOME THEORETICAL AND PRACTICAL ASPECTS
There are many sophisticated discussions about the possible effects of the regional economic cooperation. Their results have been ambiguous. However, it is evident that regional trade agreements (RTAs) have been increasingly transforming international trade, especially since the second half of the 1990s. The region of South-East Asia has become more interested in such cooperation only after the Asian financial crisis in 1997. Especially the case of Japan proves how the Asian governments have changed their approach to the international economic cooperation. They shifted the emphasis from the multilateral negotiations under the umbrella of the WTO to regional and bilateral agreements. However, despite its fast pace the process of regionalism in South-East Asia is still at the very beginning. It remains to be seen whether the Asian countries will stay on the level of broader FTAs or whether they will follow the European example of a deep economic and political integration.
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