The process of economic integration is taking on increasingly trans-continental proportions in recent periods. The formation of such mega-regional blocks as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), also known as TPP11 or TPP-11 or the discussions on the creation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) points to the rising scale of trade alliances. Such trans-continental linkages are also increasingly observed in the Global South segment of the world economy, with China and India actively exploring the possibilities of integration projects with regional blocks and individual countries in South America and Africa.
The progression of economic integration to the stage of mega-regionalism may in part be a reflection of efforts to overcome the limitations of continental integration as well as a way to alter the balance of pros and cons in the integration process in a regional setting. As is the case with TPP-11 or the creation of the Pan-African continental free trade arrangement, the formation of the mega-regional blocks is based to a significant degree on the aggregation of existing regional integration groupings and FTAs.
Another example is the IMF and the World Bank, where the votes of individual countries are aggregated into larger constituencies (chairs). In many cases the choice of the basis for the aggregation may appear to be arbitrary or based on outdated patterns. Basing the aggregation process on the “revealed preference” of the respective countries that is based on regionalism may generate more stable and objective outcomes.
With the pan-continental integration addressed in various degrees in almost all of the world’s continents, Eurasia today stands as the “last/final frontier” where such integration of continental magnitude is yet to be fully addressed. This is in spite of the fact that it was precisely in Eurasia that the first pan-continental theories of economic integration originated. The Grand Eurasia concept coming from Russia has become one of the more actively discussed subjects in the past several years with grand connectivity projects such as BRI serving as the main life-line for the formation of such a project. Furthermore, it was in Europe that the most advanced and large-scale cross-country integration initiative took place.