International economic integration, often termed regionalism, may be defined as the institutional combination of separate national economies into larger economic blocs or communities. Integration in this sense first took off in the late 1950s when the European Economic Community (EEC) was set up under the Treaty of Rome of 1956. Led by this example, regionalism soon spread throughout Africa, Latin America and other parts of the world in the 1960s, leading Haberler (1964) to characterize our era as ‘the age of integration’. Earlier examples of regional blocs can be found before the 1960s, but those established in the twentieth century were nearly all associated with either imperialism or colonialism. Soviet imperialism gave rise to COMECON, which was set up in 1949, while British colonialism and French colonialism were separately responsible for the creation of a number of African blocs. For most of the 1970s regionalism, though widespread, made little real headway outside Europe.