As regional integration proceeds, there is increasing debate about the inclusion of regulatory issues in RTAs, including technical standards services, IPRs etc, as proposed by the EU, especially in its EPA and Euro-Med negotiations, but also in US and to some extent South-South RTAs such as Mercosur.The paper would clarify the definition of deep integration and seek to present the trade-offs involved. "Deep integration" refers to the adoption of common domestic policies to facilitate economic integration in contrast to the removal of border barriers to trade."Deep integration" in RTAs may assist development eg by overcoming regulatory barriers without which the developing partners cannot take advantage of tariff concessions and facilitating the growth of supply chains, or whether on the other hand these are likely to add to the stresses that regionalism places on the world trade system, whether by adding additional discriminatory elements or by imposing inappropriate and costly harmonisation of norms. A further question to be raised is how this can all be left to the market via individual private firms and consortia such as the supermarket Eurepgap scheme.
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