www.economia.gob.mx/trade-and-investment/foreign-trade/international-trade-negotiations/north-america member states of a customs unionA customs union is an agreement between two or more neighbouring countries to remove trade barriers, reduce or remove tariffs and remove quotas. These unions have been defined in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and are the third stage of economic integration. The Committee on Economic Relations and Policy of Economic Union and The Policy of Economic Union and Eastern Europe Member States benefit from trade agreements, notably in the form of increased employment opportunities, reduced unemployment rates and increased market. Since trade agreements generally come with investment guarantees, investors who wish to invest in developing countries are protected from political risks. A common market is a kind of trade agreement in which members remove internal trade barriers, adopt common policies on relations with non-members and allow members to move their resources freely among themselves. APEC is continuing its work on free trade agreements and regional trade agreements (ATFs) in the region to promote regional economic integration. Policymakers are aware that regional trade agreements must be in line with multilateral rules and that coherence between regional agreements and between regional and multilateral systems is needed. Some countries even negotiate ATRs with the express intention of setting a precedent for future multilateral rules, while others see further action in regional partnerships as a way to complement the multilateral system. In both cases, he argues for “multilateralist” practices, which can contribute to the promotion of convergence. First, the parties that signed a free trade area applicable to trade with non-parties to that free trade area at the time of the creation of that free trade area must not be higher or more restrictive than tariffs and other rules applicable in the same signatory countries prior to the creation of the free trade area. In other words, the creation of a free trade area to give preferential treatment to their members is legitimate under WTO law, but parties to a free trade area are not allowed to treat non-parties less favourably than before the creation of the territory. A second requirement under Article XXIV is that tariffs and other trade barriers must be eliminated primarily for all trade within the free trade area.  Given that hundreds of free trade zones are currently in force and are being negotiated (approximately 800 according to the rules of the Ombudsman of Origin, including non-reciprocal trade agreements), it is important for businesses and policy makers to keep their status in mind.
There are a number of free trade agreement custodians available at national, regional or international level. Among the most important are the database on Latin American free trade agreements, established by the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) , the database managed by the Asian Regional Integration Center (ARIC) with information agreements concluded by Asian countries and the portal on free trade negotiations and agreements of the European Union.  All of our trade research and analysis can be read free of charge online through OECD regional trade agreements, which vary according to commitment and agreement between member countries.