Causes of Regionalism. How ASEAN-China FTA Fits the (New) Wave of Regionalism?

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Abstract

The main aim of this paper is to discuss standard explanations of the causes respective to each wave of economic regionalism and to introduce an alternative approach suggesting the existence of a common mechanism driving all three periods of intensified economic integration. This study argues for the general logic to economic regionalism based on the balance mechanism. Proposed mechanism embraces standard theoretical explanations and places them into a broader context of general encompassing logic common to all three occurrences of economic regionalism. For acquiring empirical evidence of this mechanism, all three waves of regionalism and their causes are analysed as well as on one particular case of the third wave of regionalism - ASEAN-China FTA. Central motivation is the existence of plethora of factors leading to the preference of the regional trade strategies in particular time periods without offering explanation common to all three main occurrences of regionalism. However, this study argues that every instance of economic turmoil leads to protectionist tendencies in the form of economic regionalism followed by the multilateral trade liberalisation mitigating negative effects of protectionist tendencies.

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