Political Economy of Regional Integration: Europe, East/Southeast Asia, Latin America Compared

Indonesia - 27 October 2012

The post-cold war landscape of international political economic relations has been characterized by wide-ranging regional arrangements –despite resilient trends towards globalized economy. The process predominantly aims at easing trans-border management in the frame of liberalizing economic (in terms mainly of trade) relations. The regionalization processes modeled after that of the European one highlight the development of regional integration elsewhere around the globe. East/Southeast Asian and Latin American regional arrangements in particular are  among major examples. The establishment of AFTA (ASEAN Free Trade Area) covering 10 (ten) Southeast Asian countries which recurrently to be engaged with their East Asian neighboring partners (the so-called ASEAN+3) and MERCOSUR (Mercado Comun del Sur/the Common Market of the South) consisting of 4 (four) southernmost countries of South American continent is the milestone to further regional economic integration in each respective area.
The topic is discussed and elaborated in parallel with concerns by trade scholars, academia and policy-makers over the spread of the so-called PTAs (preferential trade arrangements), bilateral, regional trade agreements (B/RTAs) which have been clouded the WTO’s “impasse” of Doha Development Round in the last 10 years. It is in the interests, needs of developing countries stakeholders to comprehend such development as PTAs and B/RTAs. I.e. to provide a comprehensive outlook beyond the debate of whether they are “stepping stones” or “stumbling blocks” of the current multilateral trading arrangements under WTO.