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Martin, Josh
October 2003
Middle East;Oct2003, Issue 338, p26
The U.S. and Europe are competing to win the economic allegiance of the Arab and Muslim countries of the Middle East, promising access to finance and markets within vast new trading blocs. Globalization is a driving force, both for Arab countries to join with Americans or Europeans, as well as for Arabs to form their own trading blocs. If Arab countries play their cards right, they can win significant political as well as economic concessions from potential American and European economic partners. Per capita income in the Middle East as a whole now stands at only $1,375 . But this is far behind the per capita incomes of $19,740 and $34,800 which prevail in Europe and the U.S. respectively. Income disparity reflects other, structural economic weaknesses, which both motivate Arab countries to align themselves with larger trade blocs, and cause fear that they may again be subject to a kind of latter-day colonialism, dominated by their economically superior partners. While both the American and European trade bloc proposals may envision economic futures, they will depend on political maneuvers in order to succeed.


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