Regional trade agreements have multiplied worldwide; almost all countries are members of at least one agreement and many are party to multiple agreements. Such a resurgence of regionalism coincides with the evolution of the multilateral trading system through multilateral trade negotiations, including under the Doha work programme.
Developing countries are active participants in the regionalism movement. They see regional integration as an essential avenue towards economic growth, development and poverty alleviation. But they must face the key policy challenge of ensuring coherence between multilateralism and regionalism for the sake of development and poverty reduction.
Most of the papers contained in the volume were delivered at the pre-UNCTAD XI Forum on "Multilateralism and Regionalism: The New Interface" held on 8 June 2004 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
These are some of the questions asked in this volume:
How can developing countries maximize gains for their development from the totality of multilateral, inter-regional and regional trade agreements and negotiations?
- How can the interface between multilateralism and regionalism be turned into an effective instrument for development?
- What are the developmental impacts of regional trade agreements between developed and developing countries ("North-South agreements") as well as those formed among developing countries ("South-South agreements"), and how can one maximize their beneficial impacts?