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Iberian Market Integration: A Case Study of a Regional Integration Process

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  • Iva Miranda Pires


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    In spite of being neighbors the economic relations between Portugal and Spain where irrelevant until recently. Each one of the countries chose, after 2nd War World, different options (Spain's internal market permitted import-substitution, while Portugal's smaller scale and 'special relationship' with the UK encouraged greater openness) and some aspects of the common history (Spain invaded and stayed in Portugal during almost one century) created some distrust reinforced by the unequal dimension of the neighboring country. But Portuguese and Spanish jointly adhesion to EEC, in 1986, created a totally new context that would come to facilitate and even to stimulate the development of the relationships inside Iberian Peninsula. This two until recently quite independent territories are been (re) shaped by intensive economic (and to a less extent social) interdependencies. Another aspect relates with the dynamism of the integration process if we look at the booming of trade and FDI flows between the two economies. Among the main driving forces of the Iberian market integration we identify EU itself deepening process of integration (common market, common economic, social and environment policies, abolition of borders); national governments (namely developing transport and communication infrastructures that facilitate regional mobility) and the economic agents that fast adapt to the new enlarged market exploring opportunities in each of the neighbouring markets. Empirical data on EU process of integration and accomplishment of internal market shows that countries that belong to EU tend to rely more and more on other EU members as a partner to develop trade and FDI flows. After EU adhesion Spain and Portugal quickly become relevant economic partners although due to a more active reaction of Spanish capitals the process has not been consensual in Portugal; complains on the so called “invasion†from Spanish investments where common in the media. More pro-active arguments support that although pursuing a friendly neighbouring relation with Spain Portugal should, at the same time, diversify its internationalisation strategy. The aim of this paper is to assess the impact of Spanish investment in Portugal and Portuguese firms’ adaptation to new Iberian market opportunities and challenges.

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    Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa06p713.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2006
    Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa06p713
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    1. Ben Gardiner & Ron Martin & Tyler Peter, 2004. "Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Growth across the European Regions," ERSA conference papers ersa04p333, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Mary Amiti, 1999. "Specialization patterns in Europe," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 135(4), pages 573-593, December.
    3. Juan R. Cuadrado-Roura, 2001. "Regional convergence in the European Union: From hypothesis to the actual trends," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 35(3), pages 333-356.
    4. F.E. Ian Hamilton & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2001. "European Integration and Local Capacities for Manufacturing Adjustment and Change: The Case of Spain," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 38(7), pages 1103-1120, June.
    5. Camagni, Roberto, 2002. "On the concept of territorial competitiveness: sound or misleading?," ERSA conference papers ersa02p518, European Regional Science Association.
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