In This Review

Reshaping the Asia Pacific Economic Order
Reshaping the Asia Pacific Economic Order
Edited by Christopher Findlay and Hadi Soesastro
Routledge, 2006, 256 pp

Asia lacks the intergovernmental institutional structure that has been such an important feature of Europe for the past half century. Several Japanese and Australians have been concerned with this deficiency since the late 1960s, when they sponsored the first Pacific Trade and Development Forum (PAFTAD). Since that time, we have seen the emergence of, among others, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Pacific Basin Economic Council, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the Chiang Mai Initiative, and a clutch of preferential-trade agreements. This volume includes papers produced for the 29th PAFTAD, by 20 authors from 11 countries. It evaluates existing arrangements and considers possible next steps in the institutional evolution in Asia -- meaning East and Southeast Asia, with the inclusion of countries beyond this region still a topic of vigorous debate. In contrast to many works these days, this book does not allow China to dominate the intellectual scene; indeed, surprisingly, the volume includes neither Chinese nor Japanese authors. There is a constant tension between a commitment to a global system, as reflected, for example, in Asian countries' participation in the World Trade Organization and the Doha Round of trade talks, and the desire for closer regional cooperation. The focus is on economic issues -- trade, investment, migration, and financial cooperation -- on the grounds that, as in Europe, economics initially provides a more fruitful area of cooperation than defense or foreign policy, where age-old animosities still influence national thinking. Whatever eventuates, PAFTAD will have played an important exploratory and facilitating role.