Date and Time: Thursday 5th December 2013 ~~~ 11:00 – 12:30
Location: Hibiscus Room
Theme: International Trade Governance and Sustainable Development



Session Objectives

• To provide a new perspective on regional and multilateral trading system based on the evolving production networks in the East Asia region.
• To update the WTO officials on the most recent development, benefits and challenges of East Asian economic integration (ASEAN, ASEAN+1, CJK, RCEP and TPP).


MC9 will be a unique and important meeting. Bali is the birthplace of ASEAN Community and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP: ASEAN+6 FTA). Bali will be the venue of leader-level negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). At this juncture, it is a high time to deepen our understanding on East Asian regionalism and further consider WTO’s relevance with the evolving regionalism.

The East Asia region has dramatically progressed in its de facto economic integration, i.e., development of regional production networks. Such a development has benefited not only middle-income countries but also the least-developed countries. Thailand has created the world-level industrial agglomeration. Other ASEAN countries, especially Indonesia, started to create their own industrial agglomeration. What is more, Cambodia and Laos (i.e., LDCs) have started to participate in the production networks, which have contributed to the inclusive growth. This de facto integration is strengthened by regional, sub-regional and national efforts. ASEAN Economic Community is the most ambitious vision of ASEAN countries including tariff elimination, trade facilitation, services liberalization, as well as infrastructure development. ASEAN’s FTAs with its dialogue partners further strengthen the development of regional production networks. Sub-regional efforts (e.g., Greater Mekong Sub-region) play a key role in facilitating the cross-border transports. There are two mega-FTA initiatives (RCEP and TPP) to deepen economic integration even more.

The East Asian experiences bring us a lot of insights. What is driving the current Asian regional efforts? How have regional efforts served the development of production networks? What are the critical elements that the mega-FTA should include to ensure multilateral trade liberalization in a longer term? How should the WTO change to better serve the world, recognizing the evolution of production networks? Inviting specialists of the WTO and Asian regionalism, this panel discussion will provide a precious opportunity to discuss those questions.