Strengthening regional cooperation

Stimulating inter-regional problem cooperation
Developing coherent regional programmes
Encouraging regional integration at policy levels
Effecting regional cooperation
Cooperating at a regional level
There is renewed interest for maintaining and strengthening cooperation and integration, notably among developing countries. During recent years various initiatives have been undertaken with a view to consolidating this process and to promoting trade among them. Measures for strengthening economic cooperation among developing countries (ECDC) are of continuing concern to UNCTAD. Developing countries are striving to promote intra-trade, which has been the centre-piece of economic cooperation, by intensifying trade liberalization programmes, and to enhance their cooperation in other fields, such as industry, investment, monetary and financial issues, and infrastructure. Developing countries have come to realize that trade liberalization should be coupled with cooperation in production and investment if it is to bring about significant trade expansion.

Efforts to promote regional cooperation promoted by UNCTAD include: re-examination of the existing intra-developing country preferential systems with a view to extending their scope; the removal of non-tariff barriers (such as quantitative and administrative controls) to market access; a simplification and harmonization of tariff schedules; assistance to less developed countries for mitigating the consequences of liberalization; the removal or mitigation of obstacles to intra-developing country investment; the facilitation of South-South trade in consumer goods; help to developing countries, through technical assistance, for setting up trade-finance facilities; the expansion of existing regional/sub-regional clearing and payments schemes, and the introduction of complementary mechanisms and the linking of existing arrangements; the promotion of human resources development and capacity building in the private sector.

As regards economic integration and cooperation through production and investment collaboration, UNCTAD advocates: coordination and cooperation in order to improve transport infrastructure and services; the removal of barriers impeding intercountry investment flows and the establishment of conditions conducive to investment (tariff and fiscal advantages, better access to local capital markets, etc); the establishment of investment information and promotion services; the strengthening of the role of regional federations of chambers of commerce and industry, and associations of trading or manufacturing enterprises; and ensuring consistency between decisions taken at regional and national levels.

Counter Claim:
While growing since 1986, South-South trade remains, nevertheless, small relative to world trade and is accounted for largely by the countries of Southeast Asia. Cooperation faces many impediments: the inadequacy of transport, of institutional and financial capacities, lack of credit and guarantee schemes, discontinuities in the banking sectors, and inadequate trade information facilities.
Facilitated by:
Strengthening policies
Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies