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China and East Asian Regionalism

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East Asia is steadfastly marching towards regional economic integration through a number of regional trade agreements (RTAs) and China is a major driving force behind this movement. This paper analyses China's RTAs and their impact on regionalism in Asia. It addresses the criticisms that China's RTAs are politically but not economically driven, that China's RTAs create the hub‐and‐spoke bilateralism and that China's RTAs are not World Trade Organization consistent. It discusses China's position on East Asian regionalism, pointing out that China wishes East Asia to pursue regionalism on multi‐track and at multi‐speed, that China tends to ‘do easy things first’ with low integration and liberalisation and then gradually move to deeper liberalisation and integration and that China's definition of ‘open regionalism’ does not include outside countries such as the USA and the EU. The paper makes suggestions for improving China's RTAs in the interest of establishing an East Asia free trade agreement.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Pennsylvania, USA; Oxford, UK; Peking University, China; China University of Political Science and Law, China; National University of Singapore, Singapore; Xi'an Jiao Tong University School of Law, China

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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