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A TRADE AGREEMENT (also known as TRADE PACT) is a wide ranging tax, tariff and trade treaty that often includes investment guarantees. The most common trade agreements are of the preferential and free trade types are concluded in order to reduce (or eliminate) tariffs , quotas and other trade restrictions on items traded between the signatories.

CONTENTS

* 1 Classification of trade pacts

* 1.1 By number and type of signatories * 1.2 By level of integration * 1.3 Special
Special
agreements * 1.4 By the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization

* 2 Reaction * 3 See also * 4 References * 5 External links

CLASSIFICATION OF TRADE PACTS

BY NUMBER AND TYPE OF SIGNATORIES

A trade agreement is classified as bilateral (BTA) when signed between two sides, where each side could be a country (or other customs territory ), a trade bloc or an informal group of countries (or other customs territories). A trade agreement signed between more than two sides (typically neighboring or in the same region) is classified as multilateral.

BY LEVEL OF INTEGRATION

Stages of economic integration around the World (each country colored according to the most integrated form that it participates with): Economic and monetary union (CSME /EC$ , EU /€ , Switzerland–Liechtenstein/CHF ) Economic union (CSME , EU , EAEU , MERCOSUR , GCC , SICA ) Customs and monetary union (CEMAC /XAF , UEMOA /XOF ) Common market (EEA –Switzerland, ASEAN ) Customs union (CAN , EAC , EUCU , SACU ) Multilateral Free Trade
Trade
Area (CEFTA , CISFTA
CISFTA
, COMESA , EFTA , GAFTA , NAFTA , SAFTA , AANZFTA , PAFTA , SADCFTA )

* v * t * e

There are a variety of trade agreements; with some being quite complex ( European Union
European Union
), while others are less intensive (North American Free Trade
Trade
Agreement ). The resulting level of economic integration depends on the specific type of trade pacts and policies adopted by the trade bloc :

* Separate

* Trade
Trade
and Investment
Investment
Framework Agreement (TIFA) * Bilateral Investment
Investment
Treaty
Treaty
(BIT)

* Preferential Trade
Trade
Arrangement (PTA)–limited scope and depth of tariffs reduction between the customs territories .

* Free Trade
Trade
Agreement establishing a Free Trade
Trade
Area (FTA)–extensive reduction or elimination of tariffs on substantially all trade allowing for the free movement of goods and in more advanced agreements also reduction of restrictions on investment and establishment allowing for the free movement of capital and free movement of services

* Common market –FTA with significantly reduced or eliminated restrictions on the freedom of movement of all factors of production , including free movement of labour and of enterprise ; and coordination in economic policy

* Currency union
Currency union
–sharing the same currency

* Composite

* Customs union –FTA with common external tariffs of all signatories in respect to non-signatory countries

* Customs and monetary union Customs union with Currency union

* Economic union Customs union with Common market

* Economic and monetary union (EMU)– Economic union with Currency Union

* Fiscal Union –common coordination of substantial parts of the fiscal policies (proposed step between EMU and Complete economic integration )

SPECIAL AGREEMENTS

* World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
treaty

* agreements in the WTO framework (Textile Agreement and others)

* the now defunct Multilateral Agreement on Investment
Investment
(in the OECD framework)

BY THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION

Typically the benefits and obligations of the trade agreements apply only to their signatories.

In the framework of the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
, different agreement types are concluded (mostly during new member accessions), whose terms apply to all WTO members on the so-called most-favored basis (MFN), which means that beneficial terms agreed bilaterally with one trading partner will apply also to the rest of the WTO members.

All agreements concluded outside of the WTO framework (and granting additional benefits beyond the WTO MFN level, but applicable only between the signatories and not to the rest of the WTO members) are called preferential by the WTO. According to WTO rules these agreements are subject to certain requirements such as notification to the WTO and general reciprocity (the preferences should apply equally to each of the signatories of the agreement) where unilateral preferences (some of the signatories gain preferential access to the market of the other signatories, without lowering their own tariffs) are allowed only under exceptional circumstances and as temporary measure.

The trade agreements called preferential by the WTO are also known as regional (RTA), despite not necessarily concluded by countries within a certain region. There are currently 205 agreements in force as of July 2007. Over 300 have been reported to the WTO. The number of FTA has increased significantly over the last decade. Between 1948 and 1994, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
Trade
(GATT), the predecessor to the WTO, received 124 notifications. Since 1995 over 300 trade agreements have been enacted.

The WTO is further classifying these agreements in the following types:

* Goods covering:

* basic preferential trade agreement (a.k.a. partial scope agreement) * free trade agreement * customs union

* Services covering:

* Economic Integration Agreement–any agreement, including a basic PTA, that covers also services

REACTION

Trade
Trade
pacts are frequently politically contentious since they may change economic customs and deepen interdependence with trade partners. Increasing efficiency through "free trade " is a common goal. For the most part, governments are supportive of further trade agreements.

There have been however some concerns expressed by the