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Abstract

Since the late 1990s, moves towards regional integration and cooperation have gained momentum in East Asia. The regional countries have expanded and deepened integration initiatives under the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) framework that consists of ASEAN countries, China, Japan and South Korea. What factors have promoted the development of regional integration and economic cooperation in the region? This article addresses this question in terms of collectively shared norms and political leadership. Informality, a representative common norm, played a catalytic role in first nurturing communication for regional cooperation and inducing a reluctant state to join the cooperative framework. Importantly, the development of regional cooperation under the APT framework was accompanied by a shift in emphasis from informal to formal settings. Moreover, leadership shown by China and Japan has played a crucial role in promoting the regional integration initiatives. While China has taken the initiative in propelling regional free trade agreements and economic development and integration in the Indochina countries, Japan has taken the lead in developing financial and monetary architectures and other cooperative mechanisms. Rivalry for political leadership has induced the two countries to provide regional public goods in a positive-sum game manner.

In: European Journal of East Asian Studies

Ever since the early 1990s, the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have deepened regional economic integration, advancing the main programs from the creation of an ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) to the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). This article identifies underpinning factors that have qualified ASEAN's such efforts for regional economic integration. In particular, it highlights the evolving perception of material interests due to external environments and socially shared norms as factors influencing ASEAN's efforts to promote economic integration. I argue that external threats deriving from moves towards stronger regionalism in other parts of the world or the rapid economic growth of the neighboring countries induced ASEAN members to strengthen their own regional economic cohesion. In addition, ASEAN's particular set of norms, such as consensus-building, flexible incrementalism, and informality, were effective in drawing willingness from members with diverse differences to participate in cooperative programs. However, in the process of shifting from AFT A to the AEC, ASEAN members reconsidered some of these norms by adopting more formal implementation methods, including stronger dispute settlement mechanisms.

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In: Asian International Studies Review

Abstract

This article aims to articulate business representation in the process towards creating a unified market by comparing the regional integration process in Europe in the 1980s and in Southeast Asia in the new millennium. Both the European Community (EC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) adopted the creation of a single market as a feasible strategy to respond to an economic hardship. In this process, US business associations played a critical role in identifying problems and issues in promoting actual integration. As for local business, the existing business associations did not function effectively and a new association comprising individual business executives was formed. Importantly, an initiative to create a new association came not from the private sector in Europe but from the member states in Southeast Asia. This difference led to disparities in the relative influence of the two associations on the actual integration processes.

In: European Journal of East Asian Studies