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Integration is the process of attaining close and seamless coordination between several departments, groups, organization, systems, etc. (Integration). Regional Integration is “an arrangement for enhancing cooperation through regional rules and institutions entered into by states of the same region. Regional integration could have as its objective political or economic goals or in some cases, a business initiative aimed at broader security and commercial purposes. Regional integration could have an intergovernmental or supranational organization” (Regional Integration). Integration usually occurs between several types of countries which can be labelled into three categories: these are developed countries, developing countries and underdeveloped countries. Interaction between these countries in the different categories leads to integration among these countries. Integration, especially regional integration, is found among, developed and developing countries, between just developing countries and or developed and underdeveloped countries. Trade is a major core aspect which builds integration between countries, also their geographic location. Countries which have a common geographical location develop a regional integration among companies. An example is Caribbean Community (CARICOM). In the article , The Building Blocks of Successful Regional Integration Lessons for CSME from other Integration Schemes, the authors Rachel Simms and Errol Simms quoted integration as “…..the formation by neighboring territorial units, of alliance to boost economic and subsequently, political integration through free trade areas of customs union. The whole world is operating in trading blocks for better economic and negotiating purpose” (Simms & Simms, 2007). Despite regional integration is mostly seen as a positive effect, which can benefit a country and its development, it can turn out to be the opposite. Some countries see or experience regional integration as a detrimental factor towards their development; this is, instead of pushing their country process of development, it hinders it. This is usually seen occurring in small countries that are either undeveloped or developing. According to John Connell and Lindsay Squtar the authors of the article, Free Trade or Free Fall? Trade liberalization and development in the Pacific and Caribbean, stated that “Despite increased global integration and an unprecedented rise in the volume of trade ‘there are indisputable concerns that some countries have failed to derive significant benefits from the ongoing process of trade liberalization and globalization. This is particularly so for small states’ (Grynberg and Razzaque 2004: vii). For the past fifty years the rate of growth of exports from small states has been inferior to that of larger states.” These countries who are striving are usually, developing or underdeveloped countries, which are tricked and abused by bigger, developed countries. Smaller developing and undeveloped countries are also drained of what little resources they have to offer the market by bigger developed countries (Connell & Soutar, 2007) . Another detrimental effect integration can have on a country is the duplication of skills or resources. Some countries that will integrate and will be on the same level of development, with the same resources to offer onto their market. Shams stated “That another obstacle to south-south integration was that it included countries with a low and similar level of development and similar resource endowment. In this case, there is neither much scope for inter-industry specialization nor do the countries have the option of intra-industry specialization. Integration schemes are more successful if there is enough scope for market-driven integration.” (Shams, 2003)

All these detriments can be avoided if a country is aware of its status when integrating with other countries in order to develop or to have an access to a wider trade market. The effects can be very beneficial for a country which is aware of its stance. One major benefit of integration for most developed, developing and undeveloped countries is to gain access to different trade markets. Caricom, which is a regional integrated group of Caribbean Countries, can be used as an example of such usage of this benefit with another regional integrated group called the EU. According to CARICOM’s Total Trade with Principal Trading Partners and the Rest of the World, an article found on the Caricom regional statistics website reported that CARICOM’s total imports expanded from EC$22.9 billion in 1996 (twelve Member States reporting) to EC$27.0 billion in 2001 (eleven Member States reporting) at an average annual growth rate of 3.4% over the period. (Regional Statistic), also, in 2011 CARIFORUM ran a trade deficit with the EU of some €2.2 billion. In other words, CARIFORUM countries exported €2.2 billion less in goods and services to the EU than they imported from the EU. The main exports from the Caribbean to the EU are in: bananas, sugar and rum;” (Information about CARIFORUM). With these reports it is shown that due to their integration, countries are able to benefit from the various investments occurring in their trade market. Another benefit countries gain from their integration is the ability to build a structure of security, as well as democracy to a country. (Simms & Simms, 2007). Countries that are in an integration group can have a sense of security this can be for example during natural disaster. An example is Caricom Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, CDEMA, which is designed to mobilizing and coordinating disaster relief, mitigating or eliminating, as far as practicable, the immediate consequences of disasters in Participating States; these are two of CDEMA’S functions. (Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA)). Integration is a process that, if it is applied properly, it can be beneficial for a country whether it is developed, developing or underdeveloped. As stated by Schiff and winters(2003) “…….To establish a firm foundation for common action to promote regional cooperation in South-East Asia in the spirit of equality and partnership and thereby contribute towards peace, progress and prosperity in the region” (Schiff & Winters, 2003) In closing, Regional Integration is a positive movement which embraces economic development. I recommend that, in regions where Trading Blocks are established, the countries work diligently to ensure that the movement continues and educate its citizens on the economic gains and the promising practices of Integration.


Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). (n.d.). Retrieved 2014, from Caribbean Community Secretariat :

Connell, J., & Soutar, L. (2007). Free trade or free fall? Trade liberalization and development in the Pacific and Caribbean. Social and economic studies, 56(1&2), 41-66.
Information about CARIFORUM. (n.d.). Retrieved 2014, from Criti:

Integration. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2014, from Business

Regional Integration. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2014, from Business

Regional Statistic. (n.d.). Retrieved april 2014, from Caribbean Community secretary:

Schiff, M. W., & Winters, L. A. (2003). Regional Integration and Development. Retrieved April 2014, from Google Books:

Shams, R. (2003, November ). Regional Integration in Developing Countries: Some Lesson Based on Case Studies. HWWA discussion Paper 251, 1-35.

Simms, R., & Simms, E. (2007). The building blocks of successful regional integration lesson for Csme from other integration schemes. 4(56), 255-285.

[ 1 ]. South-South trade: trade between developing countries
[ 2 ]. The Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) is a grouping of Caribbean States which are signatories to the Lome IV Convention

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