E. Àrapova, MGIMO University, 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Acknowledgements. The research was supported by the Russian Fund for Humanities, project no. 15-07-00026 “East Asian regionalism in the context of diversifi cation of economic growth model”.
Abstract. During the 2014 APEC summit the participating countries agreed to move towards a region-wide economic integration and approved China-backed roadmap to promote the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). The paper examines prospects for economic integration in the Asia-Pacific in the framework of 21 APEC participating members. It aims to measure the “integration potential” of the FTAAP on the basis of quantitative and qualitative analysis of the actual statistic data, to explore key obstacles hampering economic integration in the region. The research comes from the theory of convergence and concept of proximity. They suppose that the higher is the degree of homogeneity in economic development and regulatory regimes of the integrating countries the higher is their “integration potential”. The objective of the author’s analysis is to measure the “integration potential” of APEC countries in four directions: trade liberalization, free movement of investments, monetary and banking integration, free division of labor. Initial estimates of the FTAAP prospects base on the merchandize trade complementarity indices and coefficients of variation analysis. Besides, the research uses hierarchical cluster analysis that helps to classify countries in different groups according to similarity of their economic typologies. This methodology allows to reveal the favorable algorithm of regional economic integration in the framework of the “hybrid approach” (or “open regionalism” adopted for APEC countries in 1989) which encourages the countries to enter into free trade agreements on a bilateral basis or to make offers to the APEC membership as a whole. Final conclusions are based on the results of authors’ calculations with consideration for contemporary trends of the member countries’ economic development and long-term strategies of economic growth.
Keywords: regional economic integration, trade liberalization, APEC, Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, hierarchical cluster analysis
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