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In these cases, where the effectiveness of the governing authority can be seen at multiple levels multi-level governance , the nation-state is - with the supraregional level, and increasingly with the local authorities - one of several decision-making levels Badie, Some continents, notably Latin America and Africa, have been very creative and prolific when setting up regional cooperation projects. However regional dynamics are now thriving on every continent.

Almost all geographical regions are involved in some way in one or more of these processes. Yet regional groups all have different levels of economic openness and this level will typically depend on the sensitivity of sectors. While the former regional group is more open in agriculture, the latter is more open in services and industry. Yet the champions of open regionalism are the Apec, Nafta and the Pacific Alliance - which are qualified by their regional economic cooperation members without discriminating against third parties.

Despite the varying levels of economic openness that affect the preferential agreements, regionalism since the Cold War has been more of a help than a hindrance to globalisation.

Consensus Statement and the Way Ahead

That is because all these projects for regional integration or cooperation are committed to open and liberal regionalism. The idea behind the regional preferential agreements is to enable states and businesses to open up their economy gradually, so they are better prepared for external competition. Therefore the aim is to help set up an integrated global market.

Nevertheless, some of these agreements have had undesired effects, notably the elimination of trade with the rest of the world. A shift in trade like this prompted many academics to say that regional agreements were a stumbling block to globalisation and that they could even be a threat to multilateralism and the future of the WTO Bhagwati and Panagariya, ; Sapir, However, the economic ideology behind regional construction after the Cold War does not support this assertion.

Globalisation can be interpreted as a form of convergence towards a prevailing system of ideas. Regionalism today is emerging as part of the international economy, inspired for more than 40 years by neoliberal ideology. This kind of regionalism does not conflict with the global economy, since the ideas underpinning political decisions on regional cooperation issues draw their epistemological force from a sort of convergence of neoliberal ideology Gamble and Payne, ; Higgott, Some countries are part of several regional agreements.

The logical conclusion is that this further promotes global trade liberalisation, rather than threatening or slowing it. This is backed up by the fact that preferential agreements are increasing and becoming more intertwined. Regional spaces are also eager to develop trade links with other regional blocs, following the rules of trade multilateralism.

Together these networks are driving international trade relations and they help to promote the development of international trade and globalisation. By organising the development of a regional space through economic policies for restructuring, decision-makers lend support to the philosophy for and reasoning behind economic competition that is inspired by globalisation. They create economies of scale, which are so vital in a world driven mainly by an exports economy, compensating for the restrictions of an internal market and helping businesses to stay competitive.

Regional associations have also often become favoured spaces for implementing structural adjustment policies. These are administered, typically worldwide, by globalisation institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The aim is to set up macroeconomic environments that are stable and boost the credibility of a region's national economies in the eyes of the outside world and potential investors in particular.

In this way, setting up preferential agreements with neighbouring countries aims to bring an economic policy discipline to national economies, with the goal of compensating collectively for the loss of national autonomy at regional level Phillips, International financial institutions IFIs , the architects and guarantors of the globalised economic order, are traditionally reluctant to praise regional preferential agreements.


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Yet they still put these agreements on their agenda and regularly encourage them. With globalisation of the market-based mechanisms, all the inward-oriented development strategies found themselves in retreat, and the new liberal congruity of economic policies fostered regional openness far more than previously Petiteville, ; Higgott, ; Mittelman, ; Santander, Ultimately, the growth in regionalism can be seen as an intermediate stage between national-level economic policies and liberalism resulting from globalisation.

Neo-regionalism and globalisation are not antithetical processes. Trade policy has long been the focus of studies assessing the development of regional agreements do they help or hinder the liberal system of international trade?

Theories of International Political Economy

These studies typically ignore other factors, such as capital mobility. If national leaders get involved in regional projects, they are also typically looking to benefit from foreign direct investment - which means they can call again on the international financial deregulation stemming from globalisation.

As a result, if globalisation consists of a series of processes and a philosophy of economic management, then regionalism should be seen as an example of globalisation, and the two evolutions reinforce each other Higgott, ; Hettne, Inotai and Sunkel, ; Hook and Kearns, National decision-makers see regionalism as a way to maintain some control over globalisation, even though the theories of regionalism match the liberal thinking behind globalisation. This view is common, because the multilateral framework cannot solve the problems and challenges arising from globalisation.

Connections may be hard to forge globally. In the eyes of key players, greater trade liberalisation worldwide was severely hindered by the lengthy paralysis in the cycle of multilateral negotiations and by the failures of several ministerial conferences at the WTO. They also saw this situation as an extra threat for global governance. Since the end of World War Two, international relations have been framed by a set of rules and international treaties. These multilateral standards are regarded as a means to connect international players whenever possible, allowing them to solve any global challenges together.

This framework was formed around the United Nations and derived organisations, with the growing support of public and private players. Multilateralism has continued to develop, alongside the proliferation of international organisations. Not to mention the multiplication of international meetings and multilateral dialogue, plus the increasing diversity of areas covered human rights, environment, trade, development, humanitarian aid backed by reports, action plans and monitoring subcommittees.

The rise of multilateral institutions and rules contributed to the first plans for an international order of some kind.

Global Political Economy

It was hoped that this order would facilitate cooperation between global players, encouraging them to find common solutions to common problems. When the bipolar world ended, international organisations thrived for a while. Today they find it increasingly difficult to operate. Several issues highlight the shortcomings and limitations of the multilateral institutional machinery.

They include the stalled multilateral trade negotiations, difficulties dealing with or preventing many of the armed conflicts Balkans, Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Mali, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Sudan , and the lack of global solutions to the challenges posed by migratory crises. These shortcomings are heightened when the governments of some leading nations are quick to deploy unilateral foreign policies that structurally weaken the foundations of the world's legal architecture. Examples of this are decisions made by the George W.

These organisations are also held back by a number of problems that stem from the persistent feeling, shared by most players, that they lack fair representation and that power is distributed unequally Sur, ; Placidi-Frot, Worldwide, against a background growing multipolarity, more and more countries are electing political leaders who are partly inspired by political radicalism. Those political forces are often busy trying to regain some of their authority and power, as well as championing a return to a world where the balance of power dominates. However, they are also quick to criticise the international liberal order and related institutions, including the multilateral or regional organisations Niblett, Consequently, regionalism now finds itself confronting a political distaste for globalisation, as well as the twin crises of troubled multilateral organisations and fading global leadership.

Regionalism is also up against a world in which the emerging powers South Africa, Brazil, India, China, Russia, Turkey, Iran or others seek a shift in global power and where international power relations are increasingly multipolarised. The global economy is today challenged by politics, now making a remarkable return to centre stage, as well as geopolitical games among the major global powers Jean, Against this background, regionalism is being reassessed and is increasingly at the whim of nations and groups competing for power.


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  • This situation stirs rivalry between the projects for cooperation or regional integration within the same continent. It also spurs competition among regional blocs from different continents, as the blocs strive to shape in their image the standards and rules of the nascent political order and multipolar economy Santander, a.

    1. Introduction

    All are seeking to shape globalisation to match their societal preferences. China and Russia - alongside other emerging Brics powers - are calling for international political and economic structures that better align with the way that global power is truly divided in the early 21st century. Firstly, they are all working to promote the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation SCO , by giving this project not just a security focus but also an economic, cultural and scientific one.

    They are also in talks with many third countries. Secondly, Russia and China alike have ideas for new regional cooperation projects. Moscow is busy developing the Eurasian Economic Union EEU , which would like to create a free trade area and a customs union with countries like Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

    China has also been working on its own strategic projects, notably to develop a new Asian economic and political order.

    Navigation menu

    In , the AIIB started to shoulder project risks and, along this terrestrial belt and maritime road, to finance the construction of extensive infrastructure and communication routes such as roads, ports, bridges and railways. The contrary is true, as the Sino-American power struggle taking place through regional projects is ongoing. The Trump administration has substituted an alternative strategy for the TPP's free-trade area. The next step would be to ensure that the concept of Asia-Pacific region - to which China is highly attached - is no longer mentioned in official speech.

    According to the Trump administration's national security strategy, this would be an area stretching from the west coast of the United States all the way across the Indian Ocean and on to the eastern coasts of India The White House, , p. Lastly, the US strategy is intended to seal agreements - albeit bilateral ones - with all countries in the Indo-Pacific region, by pursuing a transactional approach to international relations that would put the United States in a stronger position when renegotiating international trade agreements. Just like the George W.

    International Institutions and the Political Economy of Integration

    Bush government did, the Trump administration aims to leverage the American market's attractiveness to gain more concessions from trade third-parties. This strategy is not aimed at excluding the United States from globalisation. Instead it seeks to enable the Trump administration - which views a trade surplus as a symbol of strength - to achieve a key goal: reducing the nation's structural trade deficit. As with the Asian pivot strategy, the Indo-Pacific plan backed by Trump was conceived to counter China's influence and its regional projects.

    China's grand strategic designs tend to promote state power.

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    Yet large state-owned groups and infrastructure projects, as well as the plans hatched by Obama and Trump, inherently believe more - albeit to different degrees - in the merits of the market, deregulation and private initiatives. Nonetheless, the Trump administration sees globalisation as a zero-sum game, that is to say a situation where there can only be a winner and a loser.

    get link Europeans are still active in this sphere, with the EU inevitably involved in the competition between large regional and interregional projects. The EU encourages the development and consolidation of regional groups in line with global competition worldwide. China's plans and the Trump administration have further prompted European authorities to secure interregional trade agreements with regions like Asean, Mercosur or Sadc. The impact of globalization on economic growth of countries also could be changed by the set of complementary policies such as improvement in human capital and financial system.