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Title: The politics of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement : the paradox of regionalism
Author: Goh, M. P.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2009
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My thesis examines the motivations of ASEAN in pursuing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China as well as the consequences arising from the negotiation of the FTA. Although the ASEAN-China FTA (ACFTA) is still under negotiation, I am primarily concerned with the negotiation of the FTA up till 2004 when ASEAN and China signed the trade in goods chapter. My thesis is situated in the wider question of why ASEAN has been active in pursuing FTAs with external partners. The ACFTA is chosen because it is the first external FTA that ASEAN is involved in as a collective organisation. Furthermore, although none of these ASEAN FTAs have been completed, the one involving China is the most advanced, allowing more data for adequate research. My study is a critique of the popular conflation of FTAs with regionalist projects. I disagree with the functionalistic understanding that negotiating a FTA is the first step towards greater regional integration. Instead, I argue that FTAs could paradoxically undermine regionalist projects. I also explore the related question of what implications ASEAN’s pursuit of FTAs have on its own integration and the wider East Asian region. In essence, the regionalism paradox is that the pursuit of FTAs with external partners by ASEAN is increasingly threatening ASEAN’s own regionalist project. In particular, ASEAN’s own economic integration has been undermined by the better preferences and terms that ASEAN members sometimes give to their external partners compared to the ASEAN members themselves. ASEAN thought that the use of FTAs could draw other partners closer to ASEAN economically and politically. However, this use of FTAs resulted in drawing other partners to only some of the ASEAN members (but not all), leading to ASEAN being less integrated as a region.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available