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Assessing Arab Economic Integration Report

Towards the Arab Customs Union

image of Assessing Arab Economic Integration Report

The goal of this first edition of the Assessing Arab Economic Integration Report is to provide a quantitative assessment of regional economic integration efforts, and generate practical and implementable policy advice for Member States. Following a concise review of the potential impact and channels of economic integration, a system of indexes has been developed for performance evaluation, monitoring and comparison of integration at the global, regional, and bilateral levels. This report shows that Arab countries’ abilities to unlock the potential for further intra-regional integration rely partly on their capacity to address a number of cross cutting structural features that act as facilitators and condition their performances. It makes a clear argument that economic integration is a means by which Arab countries can ensure their growth and diversification, thus bringing both individual country-level and communal regional-level benefits.

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Acknowledgements

The first Assessing Arab Economic Integration Report was prepared by a team composed mainly of staff members of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) Regional Integration Section, under the supervision of Mr. Moctar Mohamed el Hacene, Director of the ESCWA Economic Development and Integration Division. The core report team included Mr. Mohamed Chemingui, who coordinated the substantive work and the overall production process, Ms. Nathalie Grand, Mr. John Robert Sloan and Mr. Mehmet Eris. Other significant contributions were made by Mr. Adel al-Ghaberi on transport and logistics, Ms. Riwa Nasreddine on financial integration, Ms. Dima Kharbotli on integration in agriculture, Mr. Mohamed Hedi Bchir on computable general equilibrium (CGE) modelling and Mr. Mahmoud Mroueh on the database for the system of indexes. Background papers were prepared by Mr. Aljaz Kuncic on the theory of economic integration, Ms. Souraya Zein on remittances, Mr. Naren Prasad on migration, Mr. Riccardo Mesiano on tourism and Mr. Sung Eun Kim on energy and water. Additional background papers were commissioned to inform this report, including a paper on non-tariff measures and their ad valorem equivalents in the Arab region by Mr. Chokri Thabet; and a paper on estimating trade costs and building a new database, and global dynamic CGE assessment of an Arab Customs Union by Mr. Mehdi Jelassi. Administrative support was provided by Ms. Hana’a Saad.

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