Free Trade Agreement With Example

One of the difficulties of the WTO system has been the problem of maintaining and expanding the liberal system of world trade in recent years. Multilateral negotiations on trade liberalization are progressing very slowly and the demand for consensus among the many WTO members limits the extent to which trade reform agreements can go. As Mike Moore, a recent director-general of the WTO, said, the organization is like a car with an accelerator pedal and 140 handbrakes. While multilateral efforts have been successful in reducing tariffs on industrial goods, they have been much less successful in liberalizing trade in the agricultural, textile and clothing sectors, as well as in other sectors of international trade. Recent negotiations, such as the Doha Development Round, have encountered problems and their ultimate success is uncertain. The world`s major countries launched GATT in response to the waves of protectionism that crippled world trade during the Great Depression of the 1930s and helped expand it. In successive rounds of negotiations, GATT has significantly reduced tariff barriers for manufactured goods in industrialized countries. Since the beginning of GATT in 1947, average tariffs in industrialized countries have risen from about 40% to about 5% today. These reductions helped to foster the considerable expansion of world trade after the Second World War and the consequent increase in real per capita income in both developed and developing countries.

The annual benefit from the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers resulting from the Uruguay Round Agreement (negotiated under GATT between 1986 and 1993) was estimated at about $96 billion, or 0.4% of world GDP. One of the motivations for these standards is the fear that unconditional trade could lead to a “race to the bottom” in terms of labour and environmental standards, given that multinationals are singing the globe in search of low wages and lax environmental rules in order to reduce costs. Yet there is no empirical evidence of such a breed. In fact, trade usually involves the transfer of technology to developing countries, which makes it possible to increase wage rates, as the Korean economy – among many others – has shown since the 1960s. In addition, increased revenues are allowing cleaner production technologies to become affordable. For example, replacing scooters produced in India with scooters imported from Japan to India would improve air quality in India. Some countries, such as Britain in the nineteenth century and Chile and China in recent decades, have made unilateral tariff cuts – reductions made independently and without any reciprocal action by other countries. The advantage of unilateral free trade is that a country can immediately reap the benefits of free trade. Countries that remove trade barriers themselves do not need to postpone reforms as they try to convince other nations to follow suit. 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 the rapid growth of China after 1978 and India after 1991, which indicate when major trade reforms took place.

In the first two decades of the agreement, regional trade increased from about $290 billion in 1993 to more than $1.1 trillion in 2016. Critics disagree on the net impact on the United States…