A three bloc world? The new East Asian regionalism
AbstractEast Asian governments have engaged in unprecedented collaboration on trade and financial matters since the economic crises of 1997. For some observers, such activity, building on a new sense of shared identity forged by resentment at Western responses to the crises, is a significant step towards the formation of an East Asian economic bloc. In reality, the new collaboration has produced only modest results. Neither an East Asian preferential trade agreement nor an Asian Monetary Fund is likely to materialize. Underlying power realities and fundamental economic interests are unchanged. The new interest in negotiating preferential trade agreements (many of which are with countries outside of East Asia) is best explained by government perceptions of the effectiveness of such arrangements elsewhere in the global economy, and by a desire to increase bargaining power.