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What Are The Four Basic Categories Of International Trade Agreements

By Zach Arnold | October 14, 2021

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Since the Second World War, significant progress has been made in reducing barriers to international trade, particularly in the context of tariffs. However, with the decrease in tariff barriers, the relative importance of non-tariff barriers, including those related to standards, has increased. In 1994, an important multilateral trade agreement was concluded in the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The Uruguay Round has made significant progress in combating the increase in non-tariff barriers. The strengthening of GATT rules on standards and trade barriers related to conformity assessment, combined with the establishment of new enforcement mechanisms by the World Trade Organization (WTO), shows that significant progress can be made in facilitating U.S. exports and future economic growth. Trade agreements occur when two or more countries agree on the terms of trade between them. They determine the tariffs that countries impose on imports and exports. All trade agreements have an impact on international trade. In total, the United States currently has 14 trade agreements with 20 different countries.

In addition to reducing trade barriers, export promotion activities are a central element of U.S. trade policy. As discussed earlier in this chapter, expanding U.S. export opportunities in emerging markets contributes extremely importantly to the long-term potential for U.S. economic progress. Various U.S. agencies run export promotion programs. These programs include mechanisms such as: (1) direct funding of U.S.

companies and non-governmental organizations for technical assistance projects in developing countries; (2) low-interest loans to developing countries to support imports of goods and services, particularly from the United States; (3) the dissemination of information to U.S. companies on export opportunities through various publications and the National Computerized Business Data Bank; and (4) trade shows that promote U.S. products in major export markets. Despite the possible tensions between the two approaches, it seems that multilateral and bilateral/regional trade agreements will remain characteristics of the global economy. .

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