While there is consensus about the importance of regional competition regimes towards realizing the economic benefits associated with regional market agreements, there are certainly multiple pathways that may be taken towards the regionalization of competition law and policy in any particular regional grouping. The exact path chosen will inevitably be led by the specific economic and geo-political circumstances in which the member states of the regional grouping operate. In the case of the ASEAN Economic Community, it is submitted that the most practical way forward is to take a “bottom-up” approach with two or more member states taking the lead to establish common ground in specific areas of competition law practice, particularly those that are of greater significance in cross-border transactions and investigations. The success of such smaller initiatives might encourage other members of the regional grouping to follow suit and, hopefully, participate in other “harmonization and convergence” reform efforts that will help ASEAN advance its single market aspirations.
Association of South East Asian Nations
The current century's threat to communities, including climate change and vast and deepening inequalities, may be aggravated by the Agreement. By limiting the power of governments to govern in the interests of the community and the environment, and bolstering a regulatory framework intended to advance the interest of multi-national corporations and only the wealthiest people, trade and investment agreements deepen issues of human rights. The RCEP may, as a consequence, advertently exclude marginalised groups, including women, indigenous peoples, migrants and essentially those without any capital or political power.
Doubts have been raised whether RCEP can be a game changer for the region or not; due to many issues such as that, there already exists a good number of Free trade Agreements (FTAs) between these RCEP members (therefore RCEP is not adding something substantially new), some barriers and loopholes still remains, it does not offer any major breakthrough in new trade issues such as e-commerce. It will take some time to see the effects of RCEP, but surely the reduction of tariffs and non-tariffs will stimulate economic growth in the medium-long term. It will take some time to see how the member states benefit and reap the facilities of RCEP. But one impact is certainly visible if seen from the dynamics of geopolitics in the region, that at the moment, China has added an extra point in the game of strategic balance in Asia by clearly maintaining its dominance in the region.
The book traces the evolution of regionalism and regional integration on the continent, from the Organization of African Unity through to the African Union but, unlike earlier treatises on regionalism, Bashi Rudahindwa rightly places emphasis on the role of the legal framework. He draws comparisons with other regional economic integration projects: the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Common Market of the Southern Cone (MERCOSUR), the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the European Union (EU), to argue for greater emphasis in the AU on capacity building, and the need to utilize law to support regulatory and institutional frameworks to facilitate trade and industrialization, and interventionist measures aimed at promoting structural transformation.