The limited progress in economic integration in the Arab region in part reflects limited progress in mainstreaming regional integration commitments into national development plans and strategies. The realization of the long anticipated Arab customs union has been waiting the political will of Arab States and their ability to overcome the critical issues entrenched in such a union.
Towards the Arab Customs Union is the first edition of a series of reports on Assessing Arab Economic Integration. It provides a quantitative assessment of regional economic integration efforts and a review of the potential impact of economic integration with a view to generating practical and executable policy advice to member States. For that purpose, a system of indices has been developed to evaluate and compare performance, monitoring and integration at the global, regional and bilateral levels. The report shows that unlocking the potential for further intraregional integration relies partly on the ability of Arab countries to address a number of cross-cutting structural features. It makes a clear argument that economic integration is a means by which Arab countries can ensure diversification and growth.