Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series
Edited by David Deese
Chapter 11: Governing trade: regional leadership in the Asia Pacific
There are many ways to organize the governance of international trade. It can be handled multilaterally, though organizations like the World Trade Organization (WTO). It can be handled unilaterally, as individual countries make decisions based on their own best interests. For example, a country might choose to lower barriers to trade in a particular sector or product entirely on its own to give producers and consumers cheaper access to that sector or product. Countries also create trade agreements at the bilateral level to lower barriers and streamline trade with one another. Finally, countries can elect to handle trade in a regional manner, coming together in groups larger than two, to lower trade barriers and draw up new rules to govern trade relations between the partners. In Asia, countries have frequently chosen the path of governance at the regional level. What makes the Asia Pacific region so interesting for study from an international political economy perspective, however, is that the constellation of countries involved in trade governance vary from agreement to agreement.
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