Latin American Economic Integration and U.S. Policy

By Joseph Grunwald; Miguel S. Wionczek et al. | Go to book overview

Summary

A Latin American common market could increase economic growth rates in Latin America and also permit the other goals of Latin American development--industrialization, a more equitable distribution of income among countries, and reduced dependence on the United States and other advanced countries. The characteristics of the common market would not fit the traditional image of economic integration but would accord with the welfare objectives of developing countries. Primarily, integration would be aimed at the acceleration of development through industrialization, carried out by the promotion of investments in export industries. An export-oriented industrialization can help to end the slow growth trend. Regional industrialization could be fostered through "infant industry" protection via a common external tariff against outside competition from the advanced countries. The goal of economic efficiency would therefore be subordinated to the development of an indigenous industrial structure. Within the common market, the principal objective would be a balanced distribution of economic benefits among the partner countries.

Regional integration might not be the ideal way for Latin America to develop economically. But because the gaps in technological knowledge, resources, and entrepreneurial skill are immense, because resources are underutilized and capital and labor have limited mobility, because both advanced and less developed countries restrict the international now of goods and services, and because industrialization and such noneconomic considerations as national and regional sovereignty are deemed important, economic integration looks like a good alternative to free trade, and regional import substitution appears more efficient than national import substitution.

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