Legalization of International Economic Relations: Is Asia Unique?
The concept of "legalization" developed by international relations theorists in the early 2000s seems to be very useful in analyzing the development of international laws. Legalization is a particular form of institutionalization characterized by three aspects: obligation, precision, and delegation. While earlier studies tend to simply argue that Asian institutions are less legalized than their Western counterparts, such a simplistic argument may need some revisions. Because there are already many bilateral and regional agreements in Asia that attempt to facilitate economic integration, it is very timely to re-examine the state of play of legalization of Asian economic relations. There is a possibility that Asian institutions are now legalized in terms of one or two aspects of legalization, but not all.
Keywords: Legalization, International economic law, ASEAN way, Asian regionalism, Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Dispute Settlement Mechanism (DSM)
JEL classification: F15, F53, F55
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