Estimating the Economic Benefits of Levant Integration
Sep 16, 2019
Economic integration in the Levant — in the form of a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) that eliminates tariffs, lowers investment and nontariff barriers, and waives visa requirements — could increase the average gross domestic product (GDP) of the Levant nations by 3–7 percent. This economic expansion would likely create at least 0.7 million to 1.7 million additional new jobs, reducing regional unemployment rates by 8–18 percent, and total job creation might be substantially larger. These estimates are for a potential FTA among Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey — six of the core Levant countries.
This online tool allows policymakers and the public to examine the economic dividend from economic integration. It allows users to (1) vary key assumptions about the movement of goods, people, and capital and (2) explore different combinations of countries participating in the FTA — even allowing the inclusion of Israel and the West Bank and Gaza, the latter two of which are referred to as Palestine. The benefits increase for larger blocs of countries and with reduced restrictions on the movement of goods, people, and capital among these countries. The tool creators recognize that regional integration might start with only a subset of countries and with only partial economic integration, and this tool also allows examination of the benefits of these alternative arrangements.
This research was sponsored by the New Levant Initiative and conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).
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