Trade Costs and the Economic Fundamentals of the Initiative for Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA)
Mesquita Moreira, Mauricio
In October 2000, the twelve countries of South America launched, a multinational, multisectoral and multidisciplinary initiative, whose main objective is to develop the region's infrastructure within a context of environmental sustainability. Supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Andean Development Corporation, and the Financial Fund for the Development of the River Plate Basin, the Initiative is based on a hub strategy and its action plan calls for (1) strengthening national investment planning and coordination among countries, (2) standardizing and harmonizing regulatory and institutional aspects and (3) developing a portfolio of projects that encourage private sector participation and innovative financing schemes. This paper revisits IIRSA's economic fundamentals, looking at: the motivation behind regional integration; the importance of transport versus policy related trade costs; and the likely impact of the initiative on regional disparities and growth.