Home Contact Us  


Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#2702, 12 October 2008
Towards Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia
Mohit Anand
Research Officer, IPCS
e-mail: mohit@ipcs.org

The Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA) initiative, floated by Japan, has emerged as one of the most important steps being taken under the East Asia Summit (EAS). The idea for CEPEA was proposed by Japan at the 2nd EAS held in January 2007. The working group, constituted from among the member states, has already finalized a draft framework for the CEPEA, which will be tabled for discussion at the 4th EAS, to be held in Bangkok in December 2008. Focusing on a range of issues including trade in goods and services, investment and intellectual property rights among others, CEPEA hopes to contribute towards a free, fair and rule-based economic integration process in the region.

The CEPEA has been proposed with the aim of strengthening the East Asian Economic Partnership Agreement with the ultimate objective of developing a regional production network, and trade and investment liberalization along with system facilitation and institutional capacity-building. The CEPEA has been initiated along with the proposal to establish the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), which aims at conducting in-depth policy research and making policy recommendations to promote economic integration in East Asia. ERIA is meant to provide the basis of cooperation and to sustain attempts at narrowing the economic disparities in the region. It is envisioned as providing the intellectual support to CEPEA to ensure strong partnership between various stakeholders in order to bolster the potential gains associated with CEPEA. The dual framework is characteristic of the Japanese approach of inculcating a two-fold method of liberalization and cooperation. Together, both the initiatives are aimed at providing an all-encompassing framework for economic integration and regional cooperation in East Asia.

Japan's emphasis on such a framework rests on its attempt to ensure that prosperity accruing from effective economic integration of East Asia will connect Japan's economy with Asia's growth. Understandably, Japan's economy is in dire need of avenues to revitalize itself and check its decade-long economic slump. It is thus essential for Japan to ensure that its economy is a principle element of successful East Asian integration. In the light of China's established economic might in the region, it can also be inferred that a dwindling Japan wants to safeguard its position in East Asia. Evidently, Japan's insistence on the inclusion of India along with Australia and New Zealand as part of the larger integration process highlights its concerns regarding an economically and strategically balanced East Asia.

For India, being part of the CEPEA would mean enlargement of its export market from just Southeast Asia to all of East Asia. More importantly, it would open definite avenues for consolidating its participation in an East Asian Community. Benefits from such developments are obvious in terms of strengthened economic and political support from the regional bloc along with opportunities for increased influence on the region.

There is a sense that the CEPEA serves the same purpose as the East Asia-FTA (EA-FTA) that is currently being worked out. In this regard, it has been clarified that the CEPEA has an exclusive purpose of facilitating trade liberalization and economic cooperation. Trade liberalization has been perceived as the outcome towards which processes would be facilitated by the CEPEA which would not actually include liberalization measures per se. In the context of the EA-FTA, CEPEA stands to ensure the smooth and effective establishment of the FTA and does not include actual working out of the modalities of trade liberalization.

There are however, definite concerns regarding the perceived success of the CEPEA in the context of regional realities in East Asia. China's continued reluctance vis-a-vis the EAS still lingers over the future prospect of the body as an overarching framework for economic integration encompassing its member states. While the CEPEA suggests a wide-ranging and comprehensive economic initiative, it does not really represent the process of regional economic integration, but integration among select member states in the region. An economic partnership agreement looking to consolidate the region would fall short of its objectives if it does not effectively incorporate all players, such as North Korea and Taiwan in its focus.

It also remains to be seen if the CEPEA reinforces existing attempts at trade liberalization or acts as an impediment to them. Multiple initiatives towards trade liberalization in the region are exacerbating the existing risks pertaining to overlaps and the consequent 'noodle bowl effect.' The CEPEA needs to be able to reconcile the multiple trade agreements being pursued in the region and ensure that inherent overlaps do not complicate and jeopardize the integration process. A lot will depend on its ability to provide a framework for consolidation and mediation.

Finally, it is interesting to note that the CEPEA comes as a far-reaching extension of the underlying regional integration experiment of ASEAN. The CEPEA's attempt to provide the institutional impetus for an East Asian Community rests largely on the effective integration of ASEAN. Arguably, ASEAN itself has a long way ahead in realizing its objectives of a consolidated Southeast Asia. The CEPEA, with its foundations in ASEAN, needs to ensure that it does not merely end up trying to achieve too much too soon.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
India's Economic Competitiveness in ASEAN: A Comparison with China

India-ASEAN FTA: Implications for India

Trends in India-Indonesia Economic Relations

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.