SECRETARIAT OF THE ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE FAR EAST
Since the signing of the Rome Treaty, the problem of regional co-operation and integration has drawn wide attention in the developing countries. The creation of the European Common Market and the agreement signed with the associated countries aroused serious concern among the developing countries of Asia about the future of their exports to the Common Market countries. The launching of the Central American Common Market and the Latin American Free Trade Association ( LAFTA) in quick succession at about this time also made a deep impression in the Asian countries.
As in Latin American and Africa, the task of stimulating and organizing regional co-operation in Asia has fallen on the United Nations economic commission for the region. The United Nations economic commissions are politically neutral and are acceptable to all countries of the regions. Sharing the prestige and goodwill of the United Nations, the regional commissions enjoy a special advantage in that they have active contacts with the national Governments. Although severely handicapped for lack of resources the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East ( ECAFE) took up the new challenge in earnest and tried to the best of its ability to stimulate regional co-operation in various fields. Its success, however, has been less spectacular than that of the Economic Commission for Africa ( ECA), although it was a later entrant to the field. An examination of the difficulties met with in Asia in accelerating the development of regional integration is rewarding not only because it produces a better understanding of Asia's development problems but also because it reveals new and hitherto largely unsuspected facets of the problem of integration. To those who are deeply involved in implementing various programmes of regional co-operation in Asia, it is increasingly clear that the time has not come yet for instituting a comprehensive regional or____________________