Geo-economic megatrends in the Indo-Pacific: Integration or (partial) decoupling?


By Ramon Pacheco Pardo

Key geo-economic megatrends in the Indo-Pacific in recent decades have been defined and underpinned by a common theme: greater state-led regionalism and market-led regionalisation. In other words, regional integration. It should be noted, however, that in geo-economic terms regional integration continues to be dominated by the East Asia versus Asia-Pacific divide.


This brief will analyse whether the decades-old trend of growing regional economic integration is poised to continue up to 2030 or not – and whether, in this context, Indo-Pacific economics will be dominated by integration or decoupling. The brief will first look at the areas of trade, foreign direct investment, level playing field, and connectivity and infrastructure. Our experts survey suggests that these are the areas of most importance for the EU. The  second  focus is on economic growth, green economy, and sustainable development, also of importance to the EU as per our survey. The brief will then shift its attention to security and diversification of supply chains, which our survey shows also matters to the the EU. A concluding section will summarise the key arguments.


The EU's Indo-Pacific strategy is timely, as the US-Australia-UK agreement demonstrates. This CSDS special edition policy brief resulted from working with the EU in the context of its Indo-Pacific strategy, issued on 16 September 2021, and is published in a series with four others, which shed light on underlying causes and look at future trends. This publication is financially supported by the European Union through the Indo-Pacific Futures Platform (INFORM) project, which ran from April 2021 to December 2022.