Regionalism in Global Trade

Regionalism in Global Trade

Dilip K. Das

This comprehensive book addresses one of the most important aspects of international trade, namely, regional trade and regional integration agreements (RIAs). The focus of intense global interest and debate over the last decade, RIAs have become an integral and enduring aspect of the multilateral trading regime. Dilip K. Das analyzes the latest trends, evaluates the pattern and gauges the progress of regional integration in the global economy over the post-war, and especially the contemporary, periods.

Chapter 3: New Regionalism: The Evolving Landscape

Dilip K. Das

Subjects: economics and finance, political economy, regional economics, politics and public policy, political economy, urban and regional studies, regional economics, regional studies


1. THE IMPETUS TO A NEW WAVE OF REGIONALISM By 1967, the European Communities (EC) had successfully established a Commission, a Council, a Parliament and a Court. These institutions of integration have since evolved and expanded. Progress towards European integration has never been smooth and steady. The early period was characterized by rapid growth and enthusiastic advance towards regional integration followed by periods of doubt and retrenchment. The former seemed to coincide with economic booms and the latter with recessions. The early 1980s found the European Economic Community (EEC)1 in a moribund state. The severe anti-inflationary policies at the beginning of the decade helped the US and Japanese economies to recover, but the EEC seemed firmly stuck in the mire. In addition, the growth rate of intra-EC trade was uneven. The rapid increase that had characterized the early stages of integration had lost steam in the mid-1980s. It was around this period that the seeds of the ‘second’ or ‘new’ wave of regionalism were sown. Members of the EEC drew up their Single Market Programme (SMP) in 1986. The SMP was to be completed by 1992, and the plan was called the EC-92. The wellpublicized EC-92 plans had a great deal of impact on the thinking of the policy mandarins almost all the world over. They began to examine it as their own policy alternative. The rapidity with which regional integration arrangements (RIAs) spread globally after the EC-92 plans were publicized testifies to the fact that policy makers were...

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