New Global Economic Architecture
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New Global Economic Architecture

The Asian Perspective

Edited by Masahiro Kawai, Peter J. Morgan and Pradumna B. Rana

The global financial crisis of 2007-2009 exposed flaws and shortcomings in the global economic architecture, and has sparked an international debate about possible remedies for them. The postwar global architecture was essentially guided by the major developed economies, and was centered around the IMF, the GATT – the predecessor of the WTO – and the World Bank. Today, however, the balance of economic and financial power is shifting toward the emerging economies, especially those in Asia, and both global governance and economic policy thinking are beginning to reflect this shift. This book addresses the important question of how a regional architecture, particularly one in Asia, can induce a supply of regional public goods that can complement and strengthen the global public goods supplied through the global architecture. These public goods include institutions to help maintain financial stability, support more open trading regimes and promote sustainable economic development.
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Chapter 8: The emerging “post-Doha” agenda and the new regionalism

Michael G. Plummer


As of 31 January 2014, the World Trade Organization (WTO) reports that, counting goods and services separately, it has received 583 notifications of regional trading arrangements (RTAs, defined by the WTO to be a reciprocal trading agreement between two or more countries), with 377 in force. This number is up from 300 at the end of 2005 and 130 at the beginning of 1995 (Plummer 2007). Asia has been a major participant in this rapid increase in RTAs; in fact, apart from the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) in 1992, no Asian country had a significant RTA in place prior to 2000, whereas at the end of 2013 there were 113 Asia-related RTAs signed and in effect, and another 261 at various stages of negotiation. Many of these arrangements are intra-regional; Appendix Table 8A.1 gives an inventory of these arrangements for the East Asian summit (ASEAN+8) economies. Clearly, Asia has embraced regionalism in a big way. At the multilateral level, however, the situation is mixed. On the one hand, the WTO system itself is functioning well, with the rule-based system being respected, a much-improved dispute settlement mechanism (over the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT) in place, and rising membership (with the Russian Federation joining in 2012). The WTO continues to be the pre-eminent institution of global governance of trade.

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