ASLI Working Paper Series

Publication Title Economic Integration in East Asia: The Path of Law
Publisher Asian Law Institute
Series WPS024
Publication Date Jul 2011
Author/Speaker Zhang Zhiyong
The impressive economic performance of East Asian economies and the achievement of economic integration in East Asia before the financial crisis of 1997-98 were more attributable to the governments’ strategic actions and market forces, than the law. The weakness of domestic legal systems and the lack of regional legal mechanisms caused trouble to the East Asian economies in 1997-98. Since the aftermath of the crisis, while strengthening governance and supervision at the domestic level, the East Asian economies have made significant progress in areas such as trade, investment and monetary cooperation at the regional level. ASEAN, being the driving force of regional integration, is gradually shifting from being an organization based on political dialogue to one with an international legal personality, capable of being involved in binding commitments. However, the complex situation of East Asia demands that a specific mechanism be designed for deeper economic integration. No matter what kind of approach is adopted, there is no doubt that it is the rule of law which will ultimately safeguard East Asian economic integration.
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