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Intra-regional Free Trade Agreements or East Asian Community as the Contender of Inter-Regionalisation in East Asia

Aysun Uyar
Research Institute for Humanity and Nature
Aysun Uyar
Research Institute for Humanity and Nature
Open Panel

Abstract

As regionalism enriches itself with various issues and communication channels, East Asia stages one of the most progressive regionalisation performances along with intra-regional free trade agreements (FTAs), regional dialogue platform of the East Asian Summit and the proposed trade regionalisation attempt of the East Asian Community. Indeed, there are various parallel and diverging tracks of regionalisation in East Asia that the region itself cocoons inter-regionalism across these intra-regionalisation frameworks. Hence, this paper focuses on the progressive intra-regional free trade agreements vis a vis proposed configuration of the East Asian Community in order to examine whether these intra-regionalisation attempts might lead to a comprehensive framework of the “East Asian Regionalism” or turn the region into a basket of extraneous intra-regional matrixes. The first part of the paper analyses the current intra-regional free trade agreements of ASEAN, Japan, China and South Korea comparatively with statistical data. The second part questions the unsettled emergence of the East Asian Community along with the East Asian Summits by looking at the recent stance of each party towards the community. The last part takes an argumentative turn and critically concentrate on the emergence of multiple regionalisation platforms in East Asia and how these platforms can be compiled in a cumulative framework to set one clear example of East Asian regionalism and what kind of conclusions can be drawn not from EU, as it is the case most of the time, but for further intra-regionalisation of EU. While doing so, theoretical framework of liberal institutionalism is utilised throughout the paper and the concepts of intra-regionalisation and inter-regionalisation in one region are also attuned to the East Asian dynamics with above-mentioned frameworks.