Economic Theory and Regional Economic Integration of Asia

Hiroshi Kitamura


The problems and prospects of regional economic cooperation or
integration in Asia are today a hotly debated subject, discussed at very
different levels in different quarters. In an ECAFE paper entitled "The
. Scope for Regional Economic Cooperation in Asia and the Far East",1
the view was advanced that cooperation implying coordination of economic
policy as a whole is already on Asia's agenda of practical politics.
After the economic rationale of cooperation in varied forms had been
considered in a general way, an appeal was directed to policy-makers in
the Asian region to establish a suitable framework for cooperation
within which concrete blueprints of cooperative schemes could be worked
out. It is significant that, at the Conference of Asian Economic
Planners which discussed that paper among others, there was no
disagreement in principle about the need for increased economic
cooperation among the countries in Asia and the Far East. There was
disagreement only as to what extent of cooperation in relation to the
time perspective and what practical forms of it were most
desirable—matters concerning which the Conference was by its nature
prevented from making a decision and into which further exploration
could be made through intergovernmental consultation.

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