Arab Economic Co-Operation and Integration
The countries concerned seem to have vested interests in regional economic co-operation and integration, given their present state of economic development and the regional availability of capital surpluses. The dramatic increase in oil revenue since 1971, which is affecting favourably the supply of capital in the non-oil-countries, has already created a drive for rapid socio-economic development and growth. To provide a background for studying the potential and prospects for economic integration within the Arab region, this chapter gives a critical account of the attempts at regional economic co-operation and integration since the early 1950s. The landmark in Arab economic co-operation dates back to 1953 when the first multilateral agreement for facilitating trade exchanges and regulating transit trade was signed. The initiative taken by some of the oil countries to ear-mark sizeable margins of their capital surpluses for development purposes in other Arab countries is becoming rapidly a key factor in promoting the idea of regional collaboration and integration.