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date: 17 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Two competing sets of ideas animate key economic institutions in the Asia-Pacific region. One set of ideas, associated with APEC and the Anglo-American economies, emphasizes economic liberalization achieved through legally binding, comprehensive agreements. The other set of ideas, linked primarily to the ASEAN+3 grouping and regional developmental states, highlights voluntary agreements that respect state sovereignty and promote government-guided strategies that support export economies and protect businesses serving local markets. Increasing institutionalization of the main multipurpose regional organizations and the Asia-based preferential trade agreements cements in place the resulting “noodle bowl” of economic linkages. As the experience of the Asia Development Bank demonstrates, compromise among the region’s economic institutions may be possible, but it will take a considerable amount of time to work out.

Keywords: ideas, institutions, APEC, ASEAN+3, preferential trade agreement, institutionalism

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