Although Europe provides the leading example of international economic integration, most of the numerous arrangements for regional integration that are found in the world today concern countries outside Europe. Of the seventeen instances of integration mentioned in Chapter 1, a far from inclusive list, fourteen solely concern developing countries. Of those, five are in Latin America and the Caribbean, eight are in Africa and two are in Asia. Two other of the arrangements mentioned concern the advanced countries of North America and Australasia. A new dimension in regional integration has been the emergence of arrangements and initiatives that involve both advanced and developing countries. These concern both the western hemisphere and Asia and the Pacific. Other cases which have some similarities with this development are represented by the Europe Agreements of the EU with countries of Eastern Europe and with Turkey. In its various forms, the phenomenon of regional integration in a broad sense is now globally pervasive. But although virtually all members of WTO are involved in regional arrangements and, in particular, in free trade arrangements, many of these are limited in scope and coverage and have the character of trade agreements rather than of arrangements for regional integration. Of those which qualify to be considered as examples of regional integration many take the form of a free trade area1 rather than of a customs union, common market or economic union. This chapter provides a brief review of the global scene. It considers in turn: (1) the rationale and experience of old-style economic integration among developing countries; (2) the global and policy context and characteristics of the so-called ‘new’ or ‘second wave’ regionalism
that dates from the late 1980s; and (3) the new dimension in international integration that is presented by the emergence of arrangements such as NAFTA that involve both advanced and developing countries.