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The rise of Asian emerging countries in the global economy: Implications for the multilateral/regional trade regime

Vol. 3, No. 1, December 2007
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Brigitte Lévy, University of Ottawa

This article first considers the process of competitive liberalization, which has driven the trend toward free trade and which has contributed to further integration of world economies. It illustrates that the trading system is highly competitive, with nations from North America, Europe and Asia seeking to sustain economic growth through greater reliance on export trade and through MNCs’ global value chains of production. The first section emphasizes that regionalism has strengthened worldwide, with the major economic players tending to focus on regional agreements, and more recently, on bilateral agreements. Next, the article discusses regionalization patterns, with an emphasis on the integration taking place in Asia. The major trade bloc in the region, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), is focusing on increased integration into the global economy. In recent years, it has been promoting trade agreements with Japan, South Korea, and the emerging Asian countries of China and India, among others. Therefore, the article considers whether a new economic pole is emerging in Asia. Last, the difficulties in concluding the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations and the stalling of those negotiations from July 2006 to February 2007 point to an urgent need for global governance and supportive institutions. This article looks at critical issues in the global system, such as full participation of all players (particularly emerging and developing countries) in the decision-making process of international institutions, and the pursuit of sustainable development. Also, the impact of different cultures of trade will be important factors to consider in order to understand the emerging new world order.