ASEAN Centrality and the ASEAN-US Economic Relationship
East-West Center Policy Studies, Forthcoming
53 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2013 Last revised: 18 Nov 2013
Date Written: November 15, 2013
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is strategically significant because of its size, dynamism, and role in the Asian economic and security architectures. This paper examines how ASEAN seeks to strengthen these assets through “centrality” in intraregional and external policy decisions. It recommends a two-speed approach toward centrality in order to maximize regional incomes and benefit all member economies: first, selective engagement by ASEAN members in productive external partnerships and, second, vigorous policies to share gains across the region. This strategy has solid underpinnings in the Kemp-Wan theorem on trade agreements. It would warrant, for example, a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement with incomplete ASEAN membership, complemented with policies to extend gains across the region. The United States could support this framework by pursuing deep relations with some ASEAN members, while broadly assisting the region’s development.
Keywords: ASEAN, Asian economic integration, Trans-Pacific Partnership, US trade policy, free trade areas, regional economic integration
JEL Classification: F12, F13, F14, F15, F17
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation