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Regional integration and foreign direct investment : a conceptual framework and three cases

  • Blomstrom, Magnus
  • Kokko, Ari

The authors discuss how regional investment agreements may affect the inward and outward flows of foreign direct investments in the integrating region. After describing the multidimensional character of the issue, they provide a conceptual framework for analysis as well as three case studies focused on different kinds of regional integration: (1) North-North integration (Canada joining the CUSFTA); (2) North-South integration (Mexico's accession to NAFTA); and (3) South-South integration (MERCOSUR). They conclude that the response to an integration agreement will, in each case, depend on the environmental change brought about by the regional investment agreements, the locational advantage of the country or region, the competitiveness of local firms in the integrating region, and the motives for foreign direct investment in and by the country or region in question. The creation of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA), for example, had relatively little influence on direct investment patterns in Canada, since much of the trade between Canada and the United States had been liberalized long before the CUSFTA was established. By contrast, the Mexican accession to NAFTA brought about significant policy changes, which helps to explain foreign multinationals'increasing interest in the country. Similarly, the establishment of the MERCOSUR Common Market is likely to significantly affect the region's policy environment, which suggests that it may have a notable (although varying) impact on foreign direct investment in the four member countries.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1750.

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Date of creation: 30 Apr 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1750
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  1. J. Bhagwati & R. Brecher, 1978. "National Welfare in an Open Economy in the Presence of Foreign Owned Factors of Production," Working papers 224, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Belderbos, R.A., 1992. "Large Multnational Enterprises Based in a Small Economy: Effects on Domestic Investment," Papers 9115-g, Erasmus University of Rotterdam - Institute for Economic Research.
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  4. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Jeffrey J. Schott, 1993. "NAFTA: An Assessment, Revised Edition," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 70.
  5. Eduardo Borensztein & Jose De Gregorio & Jong-Wha Lee, 1995. "How Does Foreign Direct Investment Affect Economic Growth?," NBER Working Papers 5057, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Robert E. Lipsey & Magnus Blomstrom & Eric Ramstetter, 1995. "Internationalized Production in World Output," NBER Working Papers 5385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Kokko, Ari, 1994. "Technology, market characteristics, and spillovers," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 279-293, April.
  10. Brecher, Richard A. & Diaz Alejandro, Carlos F., 1977. "Tariffs, foreign capital and immiserizing growth," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 317-322, November.
  11. Guy V.G. Stevens & Robert E. Lipsey, 1988. "Interactions between domestic and foreign investment," International Finance Discussion Papers 329, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Smith, Alasdair, 1992. "Measuring the effects of '1992'," Discussion Papers in Economics 07/92, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
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