This article explores the dynamics of regional economic integration in the Americas. Economic globalisation, or an increased volume of trade and investment and increased mobility of capital, presents developing countries with new opportunities and challenges. In particular, the emergence of south-east Asia as a major site for the production and export of manufactured goods has generated intense competition among developing countries for foreign investment and export-market shares. In this article, globalisation and ensuing competition is linked to the process of economic integration between the United States and countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Fundamental changes in global patterns of investment and trade, in combination with international and domestic power asymmetries, contribute to the spread and proliferation of regional and bilateral trade agreements (RBTAs) between the United States and its hemispheric neighbours
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