The trade agreement database provided by THE ITC Market Access Card. Given that hundreds of free trade agreements are currently in force and are being negotiated (approximately 800 according to the rules of the intermediary of origin, including non-reciprocal trade agreements), it is important for businesses and policy makers to keep their status in mind. There are a number of free trade agreement custodians available at national, regional or international level. Among the most important are the database on Latin American free trade agreements, established by the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) [23], the database managed by the Asian Regional Integration Center (ARIC) with information agreements concluded by Asian countries[24] and the portal on free trade negotiations and agreements of the European Union. [25] In principle, free trade at the international level is no different from trade between neighbours, cities or states. However, it allows companies in each country to focus on the production and sale of goods that make the best use of their resources, while others import goods that are scarce or unavailable domesticly. This mix of local production and foreign trade allows economies to grow faster and, at the same time, better meet the needs of their consumers. The creation of free trade zones is seen as an exception to the most privileged principle of the World Trade Organization (WTO), since the preferences of the parties to the exclusive granting of a free trade area go beyond their accession obligations. [9] Although GATT Article XXIV authorizes WTO members to establish free trade zones or to conclude interim agreements necessary for their establishment, there are several conditions relating to free trade zones or interim agreements leading to the creation of free trade zones. Few issues divide economists and the scope of public opinion as much as free trade. Studies show that economists at U.S. university faculties are seven times more likely to support a free trade policy than the general public. In fact, the American economist Milton Friedman said: “The economic profession was almost unanimous on the question of the desire for free trade.” Both the creation of trade and the diversion of trade have a decisive impact on the establishment of a free trade agreement.

The creation of trade will result in a shift in consumption from a cost producer to a low-cost producer, which will lead to an expansion of trade. On the other hand, trade diversion will mean that trade will move from a low-cost producer outside the zone to a more expensive producer in the free trade agreement. [16] Such offshoring will not benefit consumers under the free trade agreement, which will be deprived of the opportunity to purchase cheaper imported goods.

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