Centre for the Analysis of Regional Integration at Sussex (CARIS)


CARIS research is focused on the analysis of international trade patterns with a particular attention to processes of regional integration around the world and their implications.

The main research areas are:


  • Trade Agreements Evaluation

The number of Regional Trade Agreement (RTAs), notified to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has risen dramatically from less than 40 in the mid 1990's to over 200 in 2005 and to over 400 in 2010. RTAs are clearly becoming a central issue in international trade policy, and in particular for developing countries, who face having to negotiate bilaterally on issues they have expressed reluctance to address at the WTO. CARIS specialises in the evaluation of FTAs and preferential regimes. Work on this area includes detailed studies of the EU-India FTA, including effects on third parties; EU-Cariforum, EU-Korea among others. Members of CARIS have worked with CASE on EU-Russia integration, EU-Armenia and EU-Georgia as well as with IDS on GSP and the EPA negotiations. CARIS has also worked on Comparative Regional Integration and the implication of Rules of Origin.

CARIS has developed a comprehensive framework the "Sussex Framework" as an analytical tool for the evaluation of FTA's based on a series of statistical indicators and a set of rules of thumb. The Sussex Framework permit an assessment of FTA's without the need to rely on complex modelling techniques.


  • Deep Integration, Competition policy, SPS

CARIS experts are particularly interested in deep integration issues, including competition, standards and also environmental and climate change related topics.

A key feature of the new generation of RTAs is that as well as involving "shallow integration" i.e. the elimination of border barriers to trade (eg. tariffs) they aim for "deep integration" measures - i.e. the harmonisation of domestic rules designed to stimulate trade and investment and through this economic growth. The term can also be used to refer to the close integration of firms via long term relationships and the creation of value chains as opposed to "ship-and-forget".


  • Trade, growth and poverty

These are important elements of work done in collaboration with the IDS, DFID and development economists at the Sussex Department of Economics. Work on this area focuses on the following issues:

  • The impact of trade on poverty
  • Export diversification
  • Trade and climate change
  • Trade and standards