ASEAN’s limited regional Integration spells globalisation, not failure

Author name: 
Jayant Menon

In assessing regionalism, it has become customary to look to the European experience to serve as a benchmark against which all other regional integration programs are judged. But ASEAN is different. Compared to Europe, it is outward- rather than inward-looking, market rather than government driven, and institution light rather than heavy. These differences reflect the very different motivations and objectives of the two regional programs. ASEAN’s success lies in its almost unique achievement of using regionalism for globalisation. The metrics that we use to assess regionalism must reflect true objectives, even if they lie below the surface. Widely used indicators such as shares of intra-regional trade and investment not only fail to capture the real story, but they can point in the wrong direction.

JEL Classification: F13, F14, F15; Keywords: Regionalism; Globalisation; ASEAN

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