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A New Direction for Asean Regionalisation in the Changing Global Legal and Economic Environment.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Lawan Thanadsillapakul
Publication date2000
Number of pages523
Awarding Institution
Place of PublicationLancaster
  • Lancaster University
Electronic ISBNs9780438571259
<mark>Original language</mark>English


ASEAN is an economic group comprised of the countries of Southeast Asia. ASEAN and Asia Pacific has been the most dynamic and fastest growing region in the world. But the 1997 Asian crisis sent the Asian Tigers' into turmoil. The rise and fall of Asia clearly reflects the interdependence of East Asian countries and the world economy, and also reflects the impact of the changing global legal and economic environment on these countries. ASEAN countries have gone through a volatile period and thus have embarked on deeper integration to strengthen regional economic self-reliance while committing to an open market orientation. A new direction for ASEAN, "Open Regionalism", will balance regional integration and global liberalisation. Economists who are specialists in the Asian region have overwhelmingly applauded "Open Regionalism", while lawyers have remained ambivalent and suspicious about how it works in balancing preferential regional agreements with generalised global liberalisation. ASEAN is going to test the feasability of implementing "Open Regionalism" in reality. Regionally, ASEAN has launched new integration schemes to liberalise trade, investment and services using a hybrid model of liberalisation based on MFN and NT treatment with negative lists, but subject to stand still and roll back principles. Preferences granted to ASEAN members would be enjoyed by non-ASEAN enterprises through the concept of "ASEAN Investor" and "ASEAN Service Provider" under AIA and AFAS, through the "ASEAN Rules of Origin" under AFTA, and through the AICO scheme, as well as through "Short-Term Measures" adopted in 1998. ASEAN has kept margins of preference as low as it can to encourage inflows of trade and investment into the region. Nationally, ASEAN countries are reinforcing their openness by unilaterally liberalising their trade and investment regimes, complying with WTO regulations. By all these means, ASEAN can both strengthen regional integration and encourage outsiders to invest in ASEAN due to economies of scale. ASEAN has adopted concerted unilateral liberalisation and negative integration, but the strengthening of its legal and institutional framework through regulatory networks and layered governance will be fundamental to its success. This thesis considers whether ASEAN can resolve the dichotomies between regionalism and global liberalisation and successfully achieve a balance between the two, which would further propel global economic development and narrow the gap between North and South.