Over recent decades ASEAN has advanced a policy of regional integration, starting with the ASEAN Free Trade Area, following on with the ASEAN+1 free trade agreements with its six main trading partners, and now with ASEAN+6. To further advance ASEAN's regional integration in the East Asian context, it should continue to focus on further liberalization of trade in goods, investment, and services that can facilitate more trade and investment. East Asian integration is designed not to be just an “extensive regional trade agreement,” but is more a “responsive vehicle” that consists of trade and investment commitments combined with facilitation. To keep regional integration viable, it should adopt an open regionalism.

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