Subregional and regional integration offers a multisectoral framework of cooperation which combines the tools of trade expansion with cooperation in respect of investment, services, transport, customs facilitation and other areas which mutually enhance each other's effectiveness. Producers can benefit from economies of scale. Subregional integration is a means to diversify into new export products, to encourage many new firms to export for the first time, to gain experience on the regional market, and to become competitive in certain branches where the regional market exceeds the threshold of cost effectiveness. Subregional integration can therefore constitute a major stage in the learning process for attaining international competitiveness and, in certain industries, a phase in the process leading towards later expansion towards world markets. It can also strengthen the position of members in trade negotiations.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.
The [South Summit], to be held in Havana in 2000, should mark a major turning point in the field of ECDC and in the enhancement of North-South relations.