The Road Towards the East Asia Economic Community (EAEC) 2020
Report of the NEAT Working Group
July 2016
The idea of an “East Asia Economic Community” (EAEC) originates from the proposal of building an “East Asia community” (EAc) by the East Asia Vision Group (EAVG I) in 2001. The EAVG I expected that “the economic field, including trade, investment and finance, is to serve as the catalyst in this community-building process”. Ten years later, the second East Asian Vision Group (EAVG II) proposed “Realizing an East Asia Economic Community (EAEC) by 2020” as a main pillar for regional cooperation and community building. The proposal was adopted by the APT Commemorative Summit in Cambodia in 2012.
Since then, significant progress has been made towards such a goal, including, for example, the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the launching of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) and the transition of the APT Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) to an international organization, the launch of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations, etc. However, despite such progress and political will, the EAEC building still seems to lack momentum. Unlike the AEC, the EAEC so far has not yet developed any master plan or work plan. With only four years to go, skepticism and pessimism arises on the realization of the goal.
In order to assess the EAEC process, identify the major opportunities and challenges on its way, and produce action-oriented policy recommendations in the hope of turning the vision into reality, NEAT China hosted a Working Group Meeting on “The Road towards the EAEC 2020” in Beijing on July 1, 2016. About 30 participants from the APT countries attended the Meeting and contributed their wisdom based on solid academic research. The Working Group Report is produced on the basis of their papers, presentations and discussions. It consists of five sections. Section 1 is a brief review of East Asia’s experience in regional economic integration and cooperation. Section 2 reflects on the conception of the EAEC. Section 3 and Section 4 respectively discusses the main opportunities and challenges for the progress and realization of the EAEC. Section 5 highlights major policy recommendations for the EAEC building proposed at the Meeting.
For the full text of the report, click here.

Network of East Asian Think-Tanks

The Network of East Asian Think-tanks

Officially recognized at the “10+3" summit meeting, Network of East Asian Think-tanks (NEAT) is a mechanism for research and academic exchange, and a platform for the second-track diplomacy in the regional cooperation among “10+3" countries in East Asia. It aims at integrating the research resources in East Asia, promoting the academic exchanges and providing intellectual support for East Asian cooperation. To be more specific, by establishing a network among East Asian think-tanks, governments and enterprises and promoting the interaction of these three circles, it intends to study the key issues related to East Asian cooperation, work out strategic ideas and concrete policy suggestions for the regional integration and submit research reports to the “10+3" summit meeting.
In 2002, East Asian Studies Group (EASG), the second-track in the mechanism of East Asian cooperation, suggested 17 short-term measures to be taken for closer cooperation among East Asian nations, among which was establishing “Network of East Asian Think-tanks" (NEAT) within the framework of “10+3" regional cooperation. The suggestion was adopted at the informal meeting of “10+3"leaders held in Phnom PenhCambodia in September 2002.
The activities of NEAT fall into the following categories: 1) Hold annual conferences of NEAT members to promote exchanges among East Asian think tanks and submit an annual work report to the informal meeting of “10+3" leaders on the basis of the research of the key issues in East Asian integration process; 2) Set up a website of NEAT, bridging the governments with the academic circles, promoting the academic exchanges among scholars about East Asia, and educating the masses in the region; 3) Hold irregular international seminars on East Asian cooperation so as to facilitate the theoretic research on the integration and community building of East Asia and help to shape the theoretic framework, strategies and specific policies conducive to the regional cooperation in East Asia. 4) Cooperate in the research of the key issues in regional cooperation and figure out the solutions.
The founding as well as the first annual conference of NEAT was held in Beijing from September 29 to 30, 2003. There were delegates from the think tanks of all the member states at the conference. The three topics discussed were “Towards East Asian Cooperation", Important Steps Leading to East Asian Cooperation" and “Key Areas in East Asia Cooperation". The conference report was not only published, but also distributed at the “10+3" leaders meeting in 2003.