This article presents an assessment of the economic implications of including China in the ASEAN trading bloc. Of greatest essence in the article is the analysis of the implications of forming trade ties with China by the ASEAN countries on the political economy of East Asia. The article notes the essence of economic cooperation in the Asian region. At the same time, the article brings out the challenges that appertain to the achievement of the goals of economic integration in the region. The impacts of tying together the weaker and stronger economies in the region and the implications for the economies that fall into either of the two categories are also discussed.
The article applauds the formation of the Free Trade Agreement between China and ASEAN as a critical move towards the attainment of an economically integrated bloc in East Asia. However, the author focuses more on the move to attain an integrated economic block in the region, without pointing much to the aspects of benefits and the aspects of losses for the states that form the ASEAN when it comes to advancing trade relations with China. The most pressing issues when it comes to the formation of regional trading blocs are the objectives and policy goals that guide the formation of regional organizations. As such, it is rational to applaud the dimension of research in the article because it points to the direction that is taken by the countries in the region, where the author points to the broader goal of regionalism in the global economy as the guiding force towards the formation of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (Cai 2003).
Cai, KG 2003, ‘The ASEAN-China free trade agreement and East Asian regional grouping’, Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International & Strategic Affairs, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 387-404.