most highly publicized, of the spatial conceptualizations. More recent is a counterpart conceptualization: the Atlantic Rim. This, of course, is comprised of the nations that border on the Atlantic Ocean, that is the nations of North America, Central and South America (hereafter referred to as Latin America), Western Europe, and Africa. Certainly, APEC must be considered the product of rapid growth and development of the economies of Pacific Asia, from South Korea through South East Asia, and of the desire of the United States to establish solid trade and investment relations with as little policy conflict as possible. By comparison, the nations bordering the Atlantic Ocean are linked by a history and by a fabric of relations that are far more complex, nuanced and multi-faceted.
In this paper this fabric of Atlantic Rim relations, its potential for future development, and its value to the participating national and sub-national entities will be examined. In any such study, the basic question to be resolved must be:
1) Whether either the Atlantic Rim, or for that matter APEC, is more than a short-term public relations phenomenon,
2) Where it fits in the structure of global and private sector entities, as well as its relation to other more formally established geography-based entities such as the European Union, the North American Free Trade Agreement and Mercosur, and
3) How it can be most effectively structured and managed in the future.
The history of relations among the nations bordering on the Atlantic Ocean and the development and performance of the region's contemporary institutional structures has been given attention in a rather extensive literature. In recognition of this, this paper will survey history only briefly and will be in the nature of an essay that confines itself to an examination of the very recent conceptualization of the Atlantic Rim itself.
Relationships among the nations of the Atlantic Rim are market, one could also say burdened, with a rich and complex history. They have been the subject of an enormous literature and have been a part of the learning of all of the area's educated people. However, a brief survey is warranted as contemporary events and discussions are always shaped by that history. Furthermore, once the nature of that history has been made explicit we will be able to appreciate the unique opportunity to conduct those relationships in an entirely new way. In the following survey only the aspects of Atlantic interaction that are most germane to the shaping of a contemporary structure will be treated. For the purposes at hand, Atlantic Rim history can be divided into two distinct periods: the 18th and 19th centuries and the 20th century.
2a. - Following the years of European discovery of the Americas, the two centuries preceding our own were marked by the establishment of formal empires by Spain, England and France, and by the achievement of independence of the United States. France ceased to be a factor in the Americas when it lost Canada to England in 1763 and sold Louisiana to the United States in 1803. While Canada chose to remain a colony of England, it did manage to gradually advance its standing within that imperial structure. Most countries in Latin America achieved their independence only after war so that the Spanish empire was over by 1825, with the exception of Cuba and Puerto