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Regular version of the site

Article

Mega-Regional Agreements and the Struggle for Economic Order in the Asia-Pacifi c Region

Asian Politics and Policy. 2018. Vol. 10. No. 4. P. 791-811.
Novikov D., Shumkova V.

The U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) project in January 2017

effectively marked the end (at least—for some time) of the period of active competition

between so-called “mega-regional agreements” in the Asia-Pacific region. A flagship of

the Obama administration’s initiatives in Asia, the TPP spurred China to intensify work

on an alternative project—its Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)—

and sparked an unusual wave of competition among APR institutions. Significantly,

Russia joined this “partnership race” in 2016, putting forward an initiative to build a

Greater Eurasian Partnership. It became something of a given that any power aspiring to

regional leadership must have its own “partnership plan” to promote. At the same time,

the formation and development of mega-regional partnerships is an important stage in

the regionalization of the world economy and global politics and a key element of the

new phenomenon of regionalization. This article examines the TPP and RCEP initiatives

as attempts to form a regional international order holding some degree of autonomy

from the global set of rules for the functioning of regional international systems—in this

case, that of the APR.