Multitrack Integration in East Asian Trade: Noodle Bowl or Matrix?
Asia Pacific Issues, Analysis from the East-West Center, No. 86, October 2008
12 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2008 Last revised: 8 Feb 2010
Date Written: October 1, 2008
East Asian trade agreements are often described as a complicated "noodle bowl," which shows links in the region as a snarled, overlapping, intertwined mass. But this is a misleading representation-Asia's regional agreements may in fact be creating an order of a different sort, building the foundations for a stronger regional trading system. Asian trade arrangements can be more constructively seen in terms of a trade agreements matrix, in which multiple negotiations produce an orderly progression of agreements to liberalize all potential bilateral relationships and move the region toward a coherent system of freer trade. The various approaches to deeper economic integration-regional arrangements, trans-Pacific agreements, and global engagement-are complementary paths that should eventually lead to an open global trading system. East Asia is of growing importance in the global marketplace, and adopting an aggressive multitrack strategy-as the region appears to be doing -- may be the fastest route toward a new global framework.
Keywords: East Asia, FTA, regionalism, Asia Pacific
JEL Classification: F13, F15, F53, F55
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation