In those circumstances, a countervailing measure, such as the imposition of a countervailing duty, could restore a `level playing field` in which trade can take place on the basis of comparative advantage. In any case, the EU has finally extended (or is likely to extend) full membership to its closest neighbours – and full membership is expected to reach around 25 of the top 6 over the next decade. In the meantime, it has developed transitional arrangements – notably the EC-EFTA link in the 1960s and the European Economic Area in the 1980s – to undermine most of the discriminatory effects of its preferential trade arrangements (with the notable exception of agriculture) on neighbouring countries. It has also concluded a series of association agreements with a second stage of countries, including those that have surrounded the Mediterranean and most of its former colonies to limit its impact. It is now becoming global to some extent, with proposed trade deals with Mercosur and others in Latin America and with its Asia-Europe (ASEM) meetings trying to counter APEC in the Pacific. Second, proponents of regionalism note that it often has important demonstration effects. . . .