Three Types of Trade Agreements
Although the WTO enshrines the principle of non-discrimination in international trade, Article 24 of the GATT allows for the formation of free trade areas and “customs unions” among WTO Members. A free trade area is a group of countries that eliminate all tariffs on trade between them, but retain autonomy in setting their tariffs with non-members. A customs union is a group of countries that eliminate all tariffs on trade between them, but maintain a common external tariff on trade with countries outside the Union (and therefore technically violate the most-favoured-nation regime). The second is classified as bilateral (BTA) if it is signed between two parties, each party being a country (or other customs territory), a trading bloc or an informal group of countries (or other customs territories). Both countries are easing their trade restrictions to help businesses thrive better between different countries. It certainly helps to reduce taxes and talk about their business status. Typically, this revolves around subsidized domestic industries. Industries are mainly in the automotive, oil or food industries.  Some countries, such as Britain in the nineteenth century and Chile and China in recent decades, have made unilateral tariff reductions – reductions made independently and without opposing measures taken by other countries. The advantage of unilateral free trade is that a country can immediately reap the benefits of free trade. Countries that dismantle trade barriers themselves do not have to postpone their reforms while trying to convince other countries to do the same. The benefits of such trade liberalization are considerable: several studies have shown that incomes rise faster in countries open to international trade than in countries more closed to trade. Dramatic examples of this phenomenon are China`s rapid growth after 1978 and India`s growth after 1991, the data that indicate when major trade reforms took place.
Fact sheets, Vietnamese trade in your city, texts of agreements, stories of exporters A difficulty of the WTO system in recent years has been the problem of maintaining and expanding the liberal world trading system. Multilateral negotiations on trade liberalization are progressing very slowly and the need for consensus among the many WTO members limits the scope of trade reform agreements. As Mike Moore, a new Director-General of the WTO, said, the organization is like a car with an accelerator and 140 handbrakes. While multilateral efforts have reduced tariffs on industrial products, they have had much less success in liberalizing trade in agriculture, textiles and clothing, as well as in other areas of international trade. Recent negotiations, such as the Doha Development Round, have encountered problems and their ultimate success is uncertain. Two countries participate in bilateral agreements. The two countries agree to ease trade restrictions to expand business opportunities between them. They lower tariffs and grant each other preferential trade status. The sticking point usually revolves around important domestic industries protected or subsidized by the state. For most countries, these are the automotive, oil or food industries. The Obama administration negotiated with the European Union the world`s largest bilateral agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
All agreements concluded outside the WTO framework (which grant additional benefits beyond the WTO most-favoured-nation level, but apply only between signatories and not to other WTO Members) are designated as preferential by the WTO. Under WTO rules, these agreements are subject to certain requirements such as notification to the WTO and universal reciprocity (preferences should also apply to each signatory to the agreement), where unilateral preferences (some of the signatories enjoy preferential market access to the other signatories without reducing their own customs duties) are allowed only in exceptional circumstances and as a temporary measure.  Second, the multilateral removal of trade barriers can reduce political resistance to free trade in each of the participating countries. This is because groups that would otherwise oppose or be indifferent to trade reforms could join the campaign for free trade if they see opportunities in the trade deal for export to other countries. Therefore, free trade agreements between countries or regions are a useful strategy for liberalizing world trade. There are a variety of trade agreements; where some are quite complex (European Union), while others are less intense (North American Free Trade Agreement).  The degree of economic integration that results from this depends on the specific nature of the trade pacts and policies adopted by the trading bloc: trade agreements designated as preferential by the WTO are also called regional agreements (RTAs), although they are not necessarily concluded by countries in a given region. As of July 2007, 205 agreements were currently in force. More than 300 have been notified to the WTO.
 The number of free trade agreements has increased significantly over the past decade. Between 1948 and 1994, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the WTO`s predecessor, received 124 notifications. More than 300 trade agreements have been concluded since 1995.  The world almost benefited from greater free trade in the next round, known as the Doha Round trade agreement. If successful, Doha would have lowered tariffs for all WTO members in all areas. Depending on the terms and concessions agreed by the participating bodies, there are different types of trade agreements. As soon as the agreements go beyond the regional level, they need help. The World Trade Organization is intervening at this stage. This international body helps to negotiate and enforce global trade agreements.
Under the World Trade Organization, different types of contracts are concluded (usually in the case of new accessions), the terms of which apply to all WTO Members on the so-called most-favoured-nation (MFN) basis, meaning that the advantageous terms agreed bilaterally with a trading partner also apply to other WTO Members. However, these advantages must be offset by a disadvantage: by excluding certain countries, these agreements can shift the composition of trade from low-wage countries that are not parties to the agreement to high-cost countries that are. The EU has concluded trade agreements with these countries/regions, but both sides are currently negotiating an update. Then there are other agreements and annexes that deal with the specific requirements of certain sectors or issues. As a result, many countries have moved away from the multilateral process to bilateral or regional trade agreements. One such agreement is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which entered into force in January 1994. Under NAFTA, the United States, Canada and Mexico agreed to phase out all tariffs on trade in goods and reduce restrictions on trade in services and foreign investment over a decade. The United States also has bilateral agreements with Israel, Jordan, Singapore, and Australia, and is negotiating bilateral or regional trade agreements with countries in Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific. The European Union has also concluded free trade agreements with other countries around the world.
Below is a detailed explanation of some of the trade agreements in which India plays a role. In total, the United States currently has 14 trade agreements involving 20 different countries. Member countries benefit from trade agreements, including the creation of new employment opportunities, lower unemployment rates and market expansion. Since trade agreements are usually accompanied by investment guarantees, investors wishing to invest in developing countries are protected from political risks. These agreements between three or more countries are the most difficult to negotiate. The larger the number of participants, the more difficult the negotiations. They are naturally more complex than bilateral agreements, because each country has its own needs and desires. These agreements are not static; they are renegotiated from time to time and new agreements can be added to the package. Many of them are currently being negotiated within the framework of the Doha Development Agenda, launched in November 2001 by WTO Trade Ministers in Doha, Qatar.
Despite the potential tensions between the two approaches, it appears that multilateral and bilateral/regional trade agreements will remain hallmarks of the global economy. However, the WTO and agreements such as NAFTA have become controversial among groups such as anti-globalization protesters, arguing that such agreements serve the interests of multinationals rather than those of workers, even though trade liberalization is a proven method to improve economic performance and increase overall revenues. To address this opposition, pressure has been exerted to include labour and environmental standards in these trade agreements. Labour standards contain provisions on minimum wages and working conditions, while environmental standards would prevent trade if there were fears of environmental damage. These agreements are often referred to as WTO TRADE RULES, and the WTO is often described as rules-based, a rules-based system. But it`s important to remember that the rules are actually agreements that governments have negotiated. Trade agreements are usually unilateral, bilateral or multilateral. Member States of a customs unionA customs union is an agreement between two or more neighbouring countries aimed at removing barriers to trade, reducing or eliminating customs duties and abolishing quotas. .