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Is the Middle East and North Africa Region Achieving Its Trade Potential?


  • Ludvig Söderling


This paper analyzes export performance in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) using a gravity model applied to panel data. It addresses two questions: (i) are there significant unexploited export markets for the MENA region?; and (ii) have integration efforts with the EU since the mid-1990s yielded positive results? The results suggest that several MENA countries are substantially underexploiting the United States as an export market. Moreover, the impact of integration efforts with the European Union has been moderate overall but significant in individual cases.

Suggested Citation

  • Ludvig Söderling, 2005. "Is the Middle East and North Africa Region Achieving Its Trade Potential?," IMF Working Papers 05/90, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:05/90

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hausman, Jerry A & Taylor, William E, 1981. "Panel Data and Unobservable Individual Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1377-1398, November.
    2. Rikhil Bhavnani & Natalia T. Tamirisa & Arvind Subramanian & David T. Coe, 2002. "The Missing Globalization Puzzle," IMF Working Papers 02/171, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Coe, David T & Hoffmaister, Alexander W, 1999. "North-South Trade: Is Africa Unusual?," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 8(2), pages 228-256, July.
    4. Feenstra, Robert C. & Madani, Dorsati & Yang, Tzu-Han & Liang, Chi-Yuan, 1999. "Testing endogenous growth in South Korea and Taiwan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 317-341, December.
    5. Peter Egger, 2002. "An Econometric View on the Estimation of Gravity Models and the Calculation of Trade Potentials," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(2), pages 297-312, February.
    6. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    7. Wang, Zhen Kun & Winters, L. Alan, 1991. "The Trading Potential of Eastern Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 610, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-116, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nazia Gul & Hafiz M. Yasin, 2011. "The Trade Potential of Pakistan: An Application of the Gravity Model," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 16(1), pages 23-62, Jan-Jun.
    2. María Dolores Parra Robles & Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso & Celestino Suárez Burguet, 2012. "The impact of FTAs on MENA trade," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 217, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Cies´lik, Andrzej & Hagemejer, Jan, 2009. "Assessing the Impact of the EU-sponsored Trade Liberalization in the MENA Countries," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 24, pages 343-368.
    4. Lawrence, Robert Z., 2006. "Recent US Free Trade Initiatives in the Middle East: Opportunities but No Guarantees," Working Paper Series rwp06-050, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    5. Kula, Ferit & Aslan, Alper, 2008. "Turkiye’nin ortadogu’da ekonomik gelecegi: Turkiye’nin ihracat potansiyeline yonelik ampirik bir analiz," MPRA Paper 10688, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Juan Ruiz & Josep M. Vilarrubia, 2007. "The wise use of dummies in gravity models: export potentials in the Euromed region," Working Papers 0720, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.


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