Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies Major in European Studies

Subject Categories

European Languages and Societies | International and Area Studies


College of Liberal Arts


International Studies

Thesis Adviser

Elaine C. Tolentino

Defense Panel Member

Ron Bridget T. Vilog
Charmaine Misalucha-Willoughby


The current trend shows trade negotiations switching forums from multilateralism to bilateralism in the form of free trade agreements (FTAs). This switch left unachieved the Third World demand of reconfiguring the international economic order to improve the role of developing countries in the management of international economic affairs in a multilateral setting. The bilateral setting now offers opportunities for developing countries to reassert the same Third World demand. However, FTAs have not merited sufficient discussions in the Third World literature. This thesis fills in that literature gap by taking the case of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (AJCEP), and assessing ASEAN's commitments as regards Third World issues, viz. liberalization and collective self reliance. This thesis forwards that ASEAN, in its pursuit to expand its role in international economic affairs, acted as a reactive pragmatic Third Worldist in AJCEP negotiations by: promoting reciprocal liberalization but adopting protectionist measures; and formally securing Japan’s support in ASEAN’s economic affairs but not with the intent of expanding South South cooperation. Rather, ASEAN sought to mitigate the competitive pressures stemming from ASEAN members’ individual engagement in FTAs with different trading partners through the AJCEP. This thesis concludes with the implications of the AJCEP to the Third World movement as a whole.

Abstract Format






Accession Number



Free trade--Southeast Asia; Japan--Foreign relations--Southeast Asia; Southeast Asia--Foreign relations--Japan; Developing countries--Economic conditions

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