This occurs where two or more countries enter into a mutual agreement to cooperate with each other for their own economic benefit. They may do this by allowing free trade or relaxing their existing trade barriers for the member countries.
Economic integration may occur in the following forms;
Free Trade Area
This is a case where the member countries agree to abolish or minimize tariffs and other trade restrictions but the individual countries are free to impose restrictions on non-member countries. They includes; Preferential Trade Area (P.T.A), European Free Trade Area (E.F.T.A), Latin America Free Trade Area (L.A.F.T.A), etc.
This is where the members of the free trade area may agree not only to abolish or minimize their tariffs, but also establish a common tariff for the exchange of goods and services with the non member countries. They include; Economic Community of West Africa States (E.C.O.W.A.S), East Africa Custom Union (E.A.C.U), Central Africa Custom and Economic Union (C.A.C.E.U)
This is where the member countries allow for free movement of factors of production across the boarders. People are free to move and establish their business in any member country. They include; East Africa Common Market (E.A.C.M), European Economic Community (E.E.C), Central American Common Market (C.A.C.M), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
This is where the members of the common market agree for put in place a common currency and a common central bank for the member countries. They even develop common infrastructures which includes railways, communication networks, common tariffs, etc
Importance of economic integration
Economic integration will ensure the following benefits for the member countries;
Free Trade Area
This is a situation where there is unrestricted exchange of goods and services between the countries. It has benefits/advantages similar to those of economic integration.
Disadvantages of free trade area
Some of the problems it is likely to bring include;
These are deliberate measures by the government to limit the imports and exports of a country.
They are also known as protectionism and include the following;
Reasons for trade restrictions
Advantages of trade restrictions
Disadvantages of trade restriction
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