Enhancing Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in Asia and the Pacific

image of Enhancing Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in Asia and the Pacific

It is argued that to further the development and the deepening of regional economic cooperation and integration (RECI) in the Asia-Pacific region can offer solutions to emerging challenges, such as quelling protectionist tendencies, mitigating rising inequalities, and addressing environmental degradation. Through enhancing regional connectivity for energy, transport and information and communications technology (ICT), and promoting regional cooperation in trade, financing and shared vulnerabilities, RECI offers enormous potential in generating trade, growth and employment, improving social outcomes and managing environmental risks and shared vulnerabilities. This presents the possibility to develop RECI as a critical enabler of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific.




There are two kinds of RECI initiatives in the region. On one hand, overarching initiatives have extensive purview, are multipurpose, and usually cover a given geographical area. The South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC), ASEAN, and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) are examples of overarching initiatives. These are usually intergovernmental and advisory in design. On the other hand, functional arrangements are for a specific purpose, activity or geographical area and have a much narrower focus. An example is the Regional Power Trading Committee of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), which has the goal of creating an integrated market for the power sector in the GMS countries.


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