Asian Review

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Since the 1997 financial crisis, ASEAN countries have become involved individually and regionally in the accelerating trend towards bilateral free trade agreements. Singapore began the trend, followed by Thailand, and then other countries including Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. ASEAN also accepted China's proposal for an agreement with the grouping as a whole, leading to similar negotiations with Japan, India and South Korea. A complex web of bilateral agreements is emerging. At present it is not clear how this will affect ASEAN's progress towards deeper regional integration.



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