Aside from its empirical insights into the dynamics of
retically it confirms the domestic level as a key level of analysis in explaining the
relationship between globalisation and economic regionalism. Thus regionalism
may be one of three basic types, namely, open regionalism, a resistance model, or
a developmental version. Which project ultimately emerges is determined at the
domestic level, where the domestic social and political setting mediates global-
isation in significant ways. The analysis of
particular domestic setting influences the way international events are interpreted
by policy makers and other groups, their potential impact assessed and policy
choices made. In short, while the systemic level—globalisation—may well
provide the initial trigger or impulse for regionalism, domestic political dynamics
that shape the nature of domestic coalitions mediate the final outcome. It is
precisely this form of interaction that gave rise to the distinct approaches to
economic regionalism we have seen in
This paper, a revised version of an earlier article, is drawn from the author’s PhD dissertation, and has
benefited from valuable comments made by Richard Higgott, Shaun Breslin, David Camroux, John
Ravenhill, Kevin Hewison, Kanishka Jayasuriya and Philip Creighton at various points in its writing.
Vietnam, Laos, Burma and Cambodia acceded to
when they formally became members of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (
The analysis focuses on the original
members—Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines,
Singapore and Thailand.
The term ‘open regionalism’ originally meant a form of regionalism that was based on the principles
outsiders (Drysdale & Garnaut, 1993: 187–188). The term is now used in a more general sense to
characterise regionalist schemes that are fundamentally about engaging with the global market
(Gamble & Payne, 1996: 251).
The conceptual distinctions between the two variants of open regionalism are discussed in Nesadurai
The conventional treatment has been of segments of capital distinguished by their market orientation,
This insight comes from Paul Krugman’s ‘import protection as export promotion’ variant of strategic
market, it enjoys an advantage in scale over foreign rivals that enables the firm to realise ‘learning by
doing’ benefits. A larger protected home market offers greater dynamic scale and learning effects to
the privileged firm. See Krugman (1986).
See Crouch (1996) for Malaysia and Habir (1999) for Indonesia.
Growth is defined here as the expansion of economic wealth of a country, irrespective of its distribu-
tion among different groups, firms or individuals. Distribution, on the other hand, involves the
conscious allocation by governments of income, rents and other economic benefits to particular
individuals, groups or firms who would otherwise not have received these gains through the workings
of the free market.
See, among others, Ravenhill (1995) and Bowles & MacLean (1996).
Menon (1998:18) subscribes to this view.
Only in Indonesia were the restrictions on
minimal, which made the
Interview with Ong Hong Cheong, former coordinator of Malaysian participation in
See Ali Abul Hassan (1992), and Abdullah Tahir, quoted in Felker (1998: 247).
‘Malaysia against restrictive investment rules: Rafidah’, Business Times, 10 July 1996.
‘Malaysia, seven others jointly oppose new
rules’, Business Times, 5 November 1996.
Interview with Karun Kittisataporn, a senior official on
from the Thai Commerce Ministry,
Interview, July 2000.
Interview with Karun Kittisataporn.
Interview with an official of the Singapore Trade Development Board, conducted via e-mail in June
See ‘Hopes vary for investment area’, Bangkok Post, 11 September 1996.
See the argument put forward by economists at these meetings (Chia, 1996: 20).
‘Investment area plan proceeding’, Bangkok Post, 9 January 1998.
‘BOI backs 30% as level for national treatment’, Bangkok Post, 17 January 1998.
‘Proposal aims to classify
investors as locals’, Bangkok Post, 21 March 1998.
Discussion with then
Deputy Secretary General, Dr Suthad Setboonsang, July 2000.
‘Region’s ministers reaffirm plan’, Bangkok Post, 6 March 1999.
Joint Press Statement, First Meeting of the
Investment Area Council, 5 March 1999.
Habibie had presided over Indonesia’s state-driven high-technology programme under Suharto’s
tenure. He took over as President in 1998 when Suharto was ousted from power.
In any case, it is not clear that developmental regionalism through the
would have been feasible as
a means to help develop indigenous Indonesian capital. It was more likely that the larger, more
advanced ethnic Chinese businesses would have been the project’s main beneficiaries.
Joint Press Statement, Thirty-third
Economic Ministers Meeting, 15 September 2001.
‘Investment in Southeast Asia plunges’, International Herald Tribune, 27 July 2000. Later informa-
‘Foreign investors desert Southeast Asia for China’, Financial Times, 13 October 2000.
Interview with a senior Malaysian trade official, December 2001.
See Chairman’s Statement, Seventh
Summit, 11 November 2001.
Press Release of the US–
Business Council, 13 September 2001.
See Press Statement, Fourth
Council Meeting, 14 September 2001.
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