A recent report by Nathan Associates entitled Regional Approaches to Integrating Small Economies into the World Trade System lays out key findings with respect to trade programs:
1. For developing countries, regional trade agreements have created little trade.
2. Regional trade agreements do not help infant industries compete in world markets.
3. Regional trade agreements do not provide an environment where private firms can invest with confidence.
The paper suggests an alternative agenda:
A. Begin with a core of the most committed countries.
B. Focus on concrete results, not commitments.
C. Address technical issues technically.
D. Minimize regional bureaucracy.
E. Connect with large, more developed countries.
F. Push for low external tariffs.