INTERNATIONAL TRADE POLICY:
* Since the end of World War II, U.S. policy has generally supported the liberalization of international trade.
* The United States has pursued the objective of trade liberalization primarily by joining the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and later the World Trade Organization (WTO).
* In recent years, however, the United States and othercountries have also begun to negotiate free-trade agreements (FTAs). Like the North American Free Trade Agreement.
* Trade agreements help open markets and expand opportunities for American workers and businesses and can help your company enter and compete more easily in the global marketplace.
* Trade agreements are also a tool for promoting fair competition andencouraging foreign governments to adopt open and transparent rulemaking procedures as well as non-discriminatory laws and regulations.
* Trade agreements can strengthen the business climate by including commitments on issues of concern along with the reduction and elimination of tariffs. Trade agreements may include commitments on topics such as:
* Improving intellectual property rightprotection
* Enhancing labor rights
* Government procurement
* Opening service sectors to competition
* Enhancing rules on foreign investment
* Environmental standards
* Improving customs facilitation
The United States is party to many bi-lateral and multi-lateral trade agreements. Countries with which the U.S. has active bi-lateral trade agreements include: Australia, Bahrain,Chile, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Peru, Oman, and Singapore. The active multi-lateral trade agreements that the U.S. has signed include the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). The U.S. is also party to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT, overseen by the WTO) along with 152 other countries. U.S. tradeagreements with Panama, Korea, and Colombia are pending congressional approval. The U.S. is also in negotiations on trade agreements with Malaysia, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) which includes Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland.
The active multi-lateral trade agreements:
There are a number of ways of lookingat the World Trade Organization:
* It is an organization for trade opening.
* It is a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements.
* It is a place for them to settle trade disputes.
* It operates a system of trade rules.
Essentially, the WTO is a place where member governments try to sort out the trade problems they face with each other.
Where countries have facedtrade barriers and wanted them lowered, the negotiations have helped to open markets for trade. But the WTO is not just about opening markets, and in some circumstances its rules support maintaining trade barriers — for example, to protect consumers or prevent the spread of disease.
Developed countries’ tariff cuts were for the most part phased in over five years from 1 January 1995.The result is a 40% cut in their tariffs on industrial products, from an average of 6.3% to 3.8%. The value of imported industrial products that receive duty-free treatment in developed countries will jump from 20% to 44%.
There will also be fewer products charged high duty rates. The proportion of imports into developed countries from all sources facing tariffs rates of more than 15% willdecline from 7% to 5%. The proportion of developing country exports facing tariffs above 15% in industrial countries will fall from 9% to 5%
At the core of U.S. trade policy is a steadfast support of the rules-based multilateral trading system.
Working through the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United States is a world leader in securing the reduction of trade barriers in order to expand...
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