Regional Trade Integration in the Middle East and North Africa: Lessons from Central Europe
AbstractIn this paper regional integration among the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is addressed. There are a number of economic and integration blocs with one or more MENA countries’ participation, but there is no one overarching agreement that would cover the whole MENA region. The results of various gravity model calculations suggest that intra-MENA trade is below its potential. Intra-MENA trade is a small fraction (5.9% in exports, 5.1% in imports) of the MENA countries’ total trade. Exports to the EU are ten times, imports from the EU eight times more relevant than intra-MENA trade flows. The most recent goal of the EU-MENA cooperation has been the creation of a deep Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area, aimed at a substantial liberalization of trade between both the EU and Southern Mediterranean countries (North-South), and Southern Mediterranean countries themselves (South-South). Recent research result point out that a successful revival of intra-regional trade in Central Europe was conditional upon these countries’ close integration with the EU. In the case of the Central European countries close integration meant full EU membership, what is for the MENA not available currently. Nevertheless a provision of some of the main attributes of deep integration with the EU, even without full membership, may facilitate intra-MENA trade to a similar way as it did for Central Europe.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by FIW in its series FIW Policy Brief series with number 014.
Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Postal: FIW Project Office Austrian Institute of Economic Research Arsenal Objekt 20 A-1030 Vienna
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-03-21 (All new papers)
- NEP-ARA-2012-03-21 (MENA - Middle East & North Africa)
- NEP-INT-2012-03-21 (International Trade)
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- Kee, Hiau Looi & Nicita, Alessandro & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2006.
"Estimating Trade Restrictiveness Indices,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
5576, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Jose R. Lopez-Calix & Peter Walkenhorst & Ndiame Diop, 2010. "Trade Competitiveness of the Middle East and North Africa : Policies for Export Diversification," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2466, October.
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