Discussion Papers

No.737 Inter-regionalism in the Developing World: Comparison with extra-, cross-, trans-, and pan-regionalism

by Shintaro Hamanaka

February 2019


Because a region is a subsystem under the global system, we should always have relative perspectives when analyzing it. A region’s horizontal relations with external parties are critical in understanding the regional and global system, because no region can exist in isolation. Existing studies on horizontal cooperation of a region often emphasize inter-regionalism, namely, region-to-region mechanism, with the majority of them dealing with the European Union’s (EU) ties with other regions. However, the EU is very unique, because its external policy is centralized in Brussels, and inter-regionalism (group-to-group modality) naturally plays a dominant role in forming the EU’s external relations. Using the cases of cooperation between Southeast and South Asia and that between Southern America and Southern Africa, this study attempts to analyze inter-regionalism in a comparative manner. It specifically asks whether inter-regionalism is a substitute or a complement to other forms of cooperation including extra-, cross-, trans-, and pan-regionalisms.

Keywords: regionalism, inter-regionalism, trans-regionalism, cross-regionalism, pan-regionalism

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