The global trend in regionalization includes adoption of democratic markets and economic institutions. Such neo-liberal economic reforms have been adopted in North America (NAFTA), the European Union (EU), and in Latin America and other regions. In Asia, there are a number of complexities that have prevented such adoption of neo-liberal economic reforms and democratic institutions. However, Asian regionalism continues to be driven by the ten members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The members of ASEAN are: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. These countries are working together with China, Japan and South Korea and are collectively known as the ASEAN+3. In large part, ChinaÆs liberalization of its economy and markets is fueling the push for regionalization. As the Asian Monitor reports:
The added urgency being given to closer economic integration has in part been caused by the growing economic influence of China across the region. ASEAN members fear they will increasingly find themselves losing out to China in exports markets and in the battle to attract foreign direct investment (Thailand 2003, 12).
Despite the drive toward regionalization, there are a number of obstacles and challenges that have stalled the development of regionalization comparable to that of Europe and North America. This analysis will look at these obstacles and challenges in order to illustrate the current status of regionalization in Asia. A conclusion will discuss the likelihood of a unified economic and political region developing in Asia in the near future.
The past five years has seen an increasing drive toward regionalization of economies, markets, and governments in Asia. The advent of the Asian Free Trade Area (AFTA), the Asia Pacific Cooperation (APEC) meetings, and the idea of establishing an Asian Monetary Fund (AMF) are all evidence of ...