Connecting the Dots: A Road Map for Better Integration in Latin America and the Caribbean
Mesquita Moreira, Mauricio
What can be said of Latin America and the Caribbean's experiment with regional integration? Did it live up to the expectations? What does this experience say about the regional integration agenda moving forward? Do the tectonic changes undergone by the world economy in the last quarter of a century matter for policy design? This report offers answers to these pressing questions. It argues that while the "new regionalism" was in general effective to promote international trade, it failed to boost the region's competitiveness abroad. Fragmentation is seen as the original sin, and convergence the path to redemption. The policy recommendations offer different routes to convergence, from a cautious, cumulation of rules or origin approach to a non-stop sprint to a LAC-FTA. But they all come with a warning: in the current challenging trade environment, the benefits of caution might be too little, too late.