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Regionalising resource security in the Asia-Pacific: the challenge of economic nationalism

Wilson, J.D. (2015) Regionalising resource security in the Asia-Pacific: the challenge of economic nationalism. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 69 (2). pp. 224-245.

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In recent years, efforts to institutionalise resource security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region have intensified. Soaring world prices for minerals and energy have seen a range of resource security strategies launched—through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), ASEAN Plus Three, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the East Asia Summit—all of which aim to promote intergovernmental dialogue, policy coordination and the integration of regional resource markets. However, the practical achievements of these regional efforts have been limited, as none have advanced beyond dialogue activities to more formalised types of resource security cooperation. This article examines the dynamics of these abortive attempts to regionalise resource cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, arguing that economic nationalist resource policy preferences held by governments have acted as a major obstacle to cooperation. Through an analysis of national resource policy regimes and the outputs of recent cooperative efforts, it demonstrates how economic nationalism has encouraged inward-looking and sovereignty-conscious actions on the part of major resource players in the Asia-Pacific. As a result, intergovernmental resource cooperation has been limited to informal and voluntary ‘soft-law’ initiatives, which have not made a substantive contribution to the resource security of economies in the region.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Asia Research Centre
Publisher: Routledge
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