Divergence, Convergence or Crossvergence of Chinese and US Approaches to Regional Integration: Evolving Trajectories and Their Implications
38 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2018 Last revised: 6 Nov 2018
Date Written: June 30, 2018
Trends in Chinese and U.S. approaches to regional integration are likely to profoundly affect other states and even the future of global economic governance. Showing a possible paradigm shift, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation reflect the latest major developments in China and the U.S. regarding regional integration. In particular, the U.S. pursues managed trade, shifts to bilateralism, and adopts an aggressive approach. This article analyses a core question: will Chinese and U.S. trade approaches converge, diverge or both, and why? For the analysis of the convergence or divergence, four aspects will be covered: the objectives of regionalism, the instruments for regionalism, the approaches to multilateralism, and the role in rulemaking. This paper argues that Chinese and U.S. trade approaches are likely to diverge and converge, leading to crossvergence (a simultaneous convergence and divergence of regulatory approaches). Divergence can be found in fundamental areas and particularly the approaches to regionalism and multilateralism. Convergence appears to occur only in selected areas (e.g. investment and intellectual property). Uncertainties exist since both the BRI and trade policies of the Trump Administration are under development. The interaction between Chinese and American approaches will affect the shaping of the international economic legal order.
Keywords: US, China, regional integration, NAFTA renegotiation, Belt and Road Initiative, approach, convergence, divergence, crossvergence, trade, investment
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