With this necessitating the elimination of all protectionist strategies, globalization has been interpreted by some as a threat to the well being of national economies and the competitive strength of domestic producers therein. As Yeung (1998, cited CLMS, U2) notes, it is a threat insofar as it removes, or at the very least, substantially reduces, state control over capital and the management of its economy and resources therein. As emphasized by both Yeung (1998, CLMS 1125) and Schwartz (2000), one of the consequences of globalization is that national economies are confronted with extreme levels of global and domestic competition. Whether on the level of the global or the domestic market, the removal of artificial barriers to trade and the elimination of protectionism, implies that single economic units have to confront the competition and challenge posed by numerous economies. This means that the survival of national economies, let alone their growth and development, is problematic and challenging. Indeed, as Robinson (2001, CLMS 1126), points out, the state has become a transnational economic, as opposed to a national economic entity.
Regionalization, characterized by the formation of regional trading blocs, has become the response to the challenges posed by globalization. Alagappa (1995) defines regionalism as a phenomenon that refers to the gradual or sudden rise of regionally defined activities and processes occurring in diverse parts of the world. It is about the making of formal regional institutions by regional countries and often involves functional cooperation, and tends to assume the form of geographically proximate governmental cooperation for the pursuit of mutual benefits (Alagappa, 1995). From this perspective, it is, therefore, an economic project pursued by state actors, largely in response to globalization and in an effort to mitigate its economic effects.
On the basis of the foregoing introductory explanation of regionalism within the context of globalization, this research aims towards the illustration of two interrelated points. The first aim is to demonstrate how both trading blocs and trading agreements were incited by globalization. The second is to highlight the ways and means by which trading blocs and trade agreements function as a strategy for overcoming, possibly negating the threats which globalization poses towards single economic (national) units.
Regional Trading Blocs as a Response to Globalization
While there is a tendency to associate regionalization with globalization through definitions which present the former as a reaction to the latter, history indicates that this is not true. As Hurrell (1995) argues, history indicates that regionalization is an outcome of trade relations and is motivated by trade. The fact that there has been an increased interest in regionalization post globalization may have obscured this fact and may have lent to the impression that regionalization is an incontrovertible reaction to globalization. One need only look towards the example of the European Union to realize that this is an erroneous