The world economy since the latter half of the 1990s has been characterised by rapid globalisation. FDI within Europe and across the Atlantic Ocean has increased explosively, and the map of corporate alliances has fundamentally been revised. A drastic reduction of service link costs, the acceleration of fragmentation and agglomeration of corporate activities, and the diversification of international transaction channels can be observed. As for the policy aspects, a number of rescue programs by the World Bank and the IMF have helped the so-called Washington consensus penetrate into the policy framework basis of LDCs and transition economies, and the newly established WTO has gained enforcement power in imposing international policy discipline on member countries. Moreover, the worldwide boom of concluding regional trade arrangements, is resulting in some countries successfully participating in FTA networks while others, not having enough capability to join such a network, have been marginalised.
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