Engine for Dynamism and Stability
Edited by Masahiro Kawai, Jong-Wha Lee, Peter A. Petri and Giovanni Capanelli
Chapter 4: Alternative Growth Strategies in Asia: Liberalization, Deregulation, Structural Reforms
4. Alternative growth strategies in Asia: liberalization, deregulation, structural reform Philippa Dee The growth and dynamism of the Asian region was sustained in the twentieth century by a ‘first generation’ of reforms that gradually opened the Asian economies through export promotion and trade liberalization. The process was assisted by a ‘first generation’ of regional cooperation that focused primarily on facilitating and removing barriers to transactions at the border (Soesastro 2010). The result was not only phenomenal growth, but also growing regional integration. Asia’s future growth and dynamism will require a second generation of reforms that tackle the behind-the-border barriers to economic performance. But recent initiatives to promote Asian integration reveal deep uncertainties on several fronts. One uncertainty is about the priority to be given to different types of behind-the-border barriers. Another is about the appropriate nature of the second generation regional cooperation that will best promote a second generation of economic reforms. This chapter deals with these issues. It first clarifies the nature and objectives of economic integration and then gives a brief history of Asian integration thus far. It then gives a quantitative assessment of three key integration strategies – preferential trade agreements, multilateral action through the World Trade Organization (WTO) and comprehensive domestic regulatory reform – by evaluating their impact on economic efficiency and productivity. Finally, it outlines a vision for the type of regional cooperation that will best support a second generation of economic reforms. 4.1 NATURE AND OBJECTIVES OF ECONOMIC INTEGRATION ‘Deep’ economic integration goes beyond simple trade...
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