Prospects for an AFTA-CER Free Trade Agreement
Since 1990 the global economy has undergone a substantive movement away from nationally segmented markets towards regionally integrated markets. More recently, the ongoing process of globalization has further intensified this process with little likelihood of abatement or reversal. A number of factors are contributing towards this, including: a steady decline in transportation costs; improvements in information and communications technology; substantive progress at the national, regional and international levels in reducing barriers to trade in goods and services as well as in the movement of labour, capital, technology and ideas across national borders; slow and painstaking progress at the multilateral level in bringing about further reductions in trade barriers; and, finally, the need to tackle other barriers to trade and investment that include non-tariff barriers, intellectual property rights, barriers to trade in services, government procurement, and movements in labour and capital. Globalization is intensifying competition in domestic and international markets, requiring a response at the national level for indigenous firms to become globally competitive.