Regional Economic Integration as a Growth Strategy
To achieve cost efficiencies while increasing quality and staying ahead on the innovation curve, companies often rely on a mix of content from suppliers around the world. As more countries have responded by opening their economies to trade and investment, suppliers of specific components and inputs have become linked through ever-growing and evolving global supply networks.
Regional economic integration has emerged as a policy strategy to pursue growth and job creation objectives and enable manufacturers to better meet consumer demands. As firms leverage global differences and complementarities in resources, they are incentivized to focus on countries in geographic proximity. Policy arrangements like free trade agreements, investment agreements, and other forms of deeper informal or formal economic integration are intended to capture as much manufacturing value-added as possible within the region while strengthening the ability of regionally- made products to compete globally.
In this section, we analyze the approaches to macroeconomic integration in North America, in the European Union, and among the members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum to discern the impact on each region's global competitiveness.
We believe that regional economic integration, done right, promotes growth, per capita growth, global trade, and job creation—but we invite you to engage with the data and reach your own conclusions.