Why Some Countries Have Free Trade Agreements

The European Union is now a remarkable example of free trade. Member States form an essentially borderless unit for trade purposes, and the introduction of the euro by most of these countries paves the way. It should be noted that this system is governed by a Brussels-based bureaucracy, which has to deal with the many trade-related issues that arise between the representatives of the Member States. The United States has another multilateral regional trade agreement: the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). This agreement with Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua eliminated tariffs on more than 80% of U.S. exports of non-textile goods. The creation of free trade zones is seen as an exception to the most privileged principle of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as the exclusive preferences of parties to a free trade area go beyond their membership 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. Unlike a customs union, parties to a free trade agreement do not hold common external tariffs, i.e.

different tariffs, or other policies concerning non-members. This function allows non-parties to free themselves as part of a free trade agreement by entering the market with the lowest external tariffs. Such a risk requires the introduction of rules for determining which products originate may be preferred under a free trade agreement, which is not necessary for the establishment of a customs union. [20] In principle, there is a minimum processing time leading to a „substantial processing“ of the products, so they can be considered original products. By the definition of products originating in the PTA, the preferential rules of origin distinguish between domestic and non-origin products: only the former are eligible for preferential tariffs provided by the ESTV, which must pay the import duties of the MFN. [21] The exception to the customs union was geared in part towards the creation of the European Economic Community (EC) in 1958.