Out of fourteen ESCWA countries, eight are members in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Regional integration in the world market and on the regional level is ready for deeper integration. This paper looks at the intra- and inter regional integration and examines areas of strength and areas in need for further policy improvements.
The most prominent obstacle facing these countries is inadequate public policy which raises business costs. For example, infrastructure is in need for improvements in order to facilitate businesses. On the political level, ESCWA countries lack appropriate supportive policies to enhance regional integration, such as preferential trade agreements (PTA).
The paper presents the ideal benefits of trade integration on the economic and social level. It also discusses the foundations of lowering trade barriers. These issues are discussed in light of the conceptual findings of scholastic works. The following section looks at the regional economic growth before suggesting policy recommendations.
The paper raises some policy recommendations, which include
ESCWA countries should seek regional and international integration with special consideration to import substitution and export promotion policies
improvement of service sector, especially the communications sector
improvement of domestic investment policies
removal of unnecessary tariff and non-tariff barriers to improve job creation opportunities