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Managing the Noodle Bowl: The Fragility of East Asian Regionalism

28 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2006  

Richard E. Baldwin

University of Geneva - Graduate Institute of International Studies (HEI); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2006

Abstract

The paper argues that East Asian regionalism is fragile since (i) each nation's industrial competitiveness depends on the smooth functioning of 'Factory Asia' - in particular on intra-regional trade; (ii) the unilateral tariff-cutting that created 'Factory Asia' is not subject to WTO discipline (bindings); (iii) there is no 'top-level management' to substitute for WTO discipline, i.e. to ensure that bilateral trade tensions - tensions that are inevitable in East Asia - do not spillover into region-wide problems due to lack of cooperation and communication. This paper argues that the window of opportunity for East Asian 'vision' was missed; what East Asia needs now is 'management' not vision. East Asia should launch a 'New East Asian Regional Management Effort' with a reinforced ASEAN+3 being the most likely candidate for the job. The first priority should be to bind the region's unilateral tariff cuts in the WTO.

Keywords: Regionalism, East Asia, noodle bowl, management not vision

JEL Classification: F1, F13, F15

Suggested Citation

Baldwin, Richard E., Managing the Noodle Bowl: The Fragility of East Asian Regionalism (March 2006). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 5561. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=912265

Richard E. Baldwin (Contact Author)

University of Geneva - Graduate Institute of International Studies (HEI) ( email )

PO Box 136
Geneva, CH-1211
Switzerland
+41 22 908 5933 (Phone)
+41 22 733 3049 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.hei.unige.ch/~baldwin/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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London, EC1V 3PZ
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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