Book Review: Julien Chaisse and Sufian Jusoh, The ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement: The Regionalization of Laws and Policy on Foreign Investment

AuthorDebashis Chakraborty
Publication Date01 May 2018
SubjectBook Review
Book Review
Julien Chaisse and Sufian Jusoh, The ASEAN Comprehensive Investment
Agreement: The Regionalization of Laws and Policy on Foreign Investment,
Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2016, £80.00, 253 pp., ISBN 978-1-78536-
Given the deepening of International Production Networks (IPNs) today, trade
reforms cannot be completed without commensurate investment liberalizations.
With the slow progress of WTO negotiations on both fronts, the mega-regional
trade agreements (RTAs) such as Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Regional
Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are emerging as the viable alterna-
tives. In both the upcoming mega-blocs, Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) countries form a crucial component, given their inherent advantages in
terms of skilled labour force, and shift of the production frontier in terms of
technical sophistication in the manufacturing segments. In addition, the service
sectors have significantly matured with value co-creation among regional
partners. This maturity can be attributed to ASEAN Comprehensive Investment
Agreement (ACIA), signed and entered into force in 2009 and 2012, respectively,
enabling the bloc to grow as an IPN hub of Asia. In this context, the recent volume
by Chaisse and Jusoh, focusing on various aspects of ACIA, is a major contribution
to the literature.
Part one of the volume discusses the evolution of the international law on for-
eign investment in the Asia-Pacific region. Given the comparative, acquired and
scale advantages (e.g., resource availability, supply of labour, access to port,
investment facilitation and market size) that ASEAN countries enjoy, since the
1970s inward foreign direct investment (FDI) poured in. FDI from Japan through
the ‘Flying Geese’ model is a case in point. Subsequently, a number of bilateral
investment agreements (BITs) were formed at the country level, leading to the
‘noodle bowl’ phenomenon. The ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), 1992,
integrated the ten member countries from trade perspective. The ASEAN
Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025 introduced in 2015, of which freer
flow of capital is a crucial component, intends to expand both the inward and
outward integration to the next level. However, the divergence in FDI inflow
volume between the advanced economy of Singapore and the less developed
countries (LDCs), that is, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam, is still stark.
ACIA is a unique step in this context, geared to liberalize sectors in line with the
Foreign Trade Review
53(2) 124–126
©2018 Indian Institute of
Foreign Trade
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0015732518764812

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