New Regionalism and New Bilateralism in the Asia-Pacific

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About the Publication

This paper reviews the development of new regional trading agreements (RTAs) in the Asia-Pacific in the last two years or so. The new regionalism shows new patterns with more countries joining in RTAs and several countries participating in more than one RTA. Many of these new agreements are bilaterals. New regionalism is explained chiefly in terms of the fear of exclusion from major markets. It has positive and negative effects; the latter include increasing discrimination against developing countries and hubs-and-spokes. However, viewed dynamically, bilaterals may play a new role in mitigating the effects of large RTAs and encouraging coalescence among RTAs.

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