Inward-orientation of regional arrangements, on the other hand, carries the risk that trade diversion effects will predominate and thus affect adversely the trading opportunities of the non-member countries. Developing countries which form free trade arrangements with developed countries can benefit significantly from guaranteed access to a large market (provided they have the supply capability to compete), as well as from possible increased direct foreign investment and faster technological diffusion. Integration arrangements among developing countries can also serve as a vehicle to promote export opportunities of member countries at the regional level. The ongoing reforms of developing-country integration groupings, in combination with national policy reforms in member states to strengthen the competitiveness of their export supply capabilities, will provide a new impetus to trade, production and investment in these regional groupings.
Experience has shown that without formal arrangements, "business-led" regional integration can stimulate intraregional trade and exports to the world market by building production networks which make efficient use of different resource endowments of countries in the region, and thereby promote an efficient division of labour, both at the regional and international level. Relatively open and transparent trade and foreign investment regimes are indispensable for countries which seek to participate in business-led integration processes that can expand their trading opportunities.
The export opportunities for developing and other countries outside of regional arrangements are highly dependent on the openness of regional integration schemes. The elimination of intraregional barriers should be accompanied by the reduction or removal of barriers in trade with third countries. Hence, regional and multilateral approaches should be complementary. In the context of such "open regionalism", intraregional trade expansion would not come at the expense of trade with non-members.