Agreement Area Definition

First, the customs duties and other rules which are maintained in each of the signatory parties to a free trade area and which are applicable at the time of the establishment of such a free trade area shall not be higher or more restrictive for trade with non-parties to such a free trade area than customs duties and other rules which existed in the same signatory parties before the establishment of the free trade area. In other words, the creation of a free trade area for preferential treatment among its members is legitimate under WTO law, but parties to a free trade area should not treat non-parties less favourably than before the establishment of the area. A second requirement of Article XXIV is that tariffs and other barriers to trade must essentially eliminate all trade within the free trade area. [7] Given that hundreds of free trade areas are currently in force and under negotiation (around 800 under the ITC Rules of Origin Facilitator, including non-reciprocal trade agreements), it is important for businesses and policymakers to keep an eye on their status. There are a number of free trade agreement custodians available either at the national, regional or international level. Some important elements are the database on Latin American free trade agreements,[18] the asian regional integration centre (ARIC) database, the asian countries` information agreements[19] and the European Union`s portal on free trade negotiations and agreements. [20] A free trade area is a region where a group of countries has signed a free trade agreement and has few or no barriers to trade in the form of tariffs or quotas.