Arab economic integration in the context of an evolving and dynamic world

The push for global and regional economic integration is an old concept that has seen renewed emphasis in recent years, particularly regarding regional and subregional integration, with regional integration agreements (RIAs) becoming a ubiquitous feature of global economic frameworks. RIAs often take the form of FTAs that grant each member preferential access to the markets of other participants. These agreements are also recognized as a vehicle for achieving deeper forms of economic integration, requiring a higher level of policy coordination that is more feasible regionally than globally (Lawrence, 1996). While ultimately very beneficial, the process of economic integration is likely to be long and rife with difficulties, as the prominent example of the European integration experience illustrates. Strong political will is of vital importance to overcome initial challenges in the economic integration process and future hurdles that are likely to determine the viability of integration efforts.

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