In most regional groupings, the majority of member States faced substantial debt and balance-of-payments problems stemming from their overall foreign economic relations, while on the other hand the subregional integration and cooperation mechanisms were not equipped to tackle such problems. In developing countries, where external finance and payment support were the primary constraint, joint venture investment programmes or joint production schemes in industry or agriculture within regional groupings faced the utmost difficulty in being implemented. Where action continued at all, emphasis was put on rescuing and rationalizing existing industries rather than on new investment.
[Small island developing states] Although small island countries could benefit considerably from the strength and influence which a political union would afford, they find it difficult to carry out. In any group of islands, there are one or a few which are somewhat better off or larger. They fear the possibility of taking on problems of smaller territories which they might not have on their own. For all parties, national interest must be very strong to survive as an entity at all. And yet this same national interest blocks the idea of union with others, even be it a limited one. Finally, small island politicians and populaces are accustomed to a level of personalism in their dialogue that union with outside territories cannot permit.