Regional Integration and the Agricultural Sector
Caribbean Community and Common Market's agricultural policies are the most ambitious regional integration schemes among developing countries, which, for the most part, have relegated agriculture to a position of low priority in regional activities. Customs union theory presents regional economic integration as "second best" compared to global free trade, inasmuch as it represents a step away from individually protected national economies. The emphasis on regional integration as a market solution to economic development and its marriage to the doctrine of industrialization by invitation made it the object of harsh criticism on the part of scholars of the dependencia tradition. Intraregional disparities, and the tendency for economic integration to reinforce them, necessitate explicit policies designed to effect more equal distribution of benefits. The consequences of integration are thus evaluated on the basis of their contribution to development rather than on the basis of increased efficiency. The existing structure of the agricultural sector further reinforced this bias of integration policies toward industrialization.