A Trading Bloc's perspective

Trading blocs can be small or large, but they are powerful as one negotiating body.

A preferential trade area also known preferential trade agreement is a trade bloc which provides preferential access to specific goods from the member states. This is done by decreasing tariffs however not by removing them entirely. A PTA can be established by using a trade pact. PTA is the primary phase of Economic integration. There is a blurred line between PTA and FTA (Free Trade Area), as nearly every PTA has a key objective of becoming a FTA in accordance with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

A Free Trade Area is just like a Preferential Trade Area with enhanced details and scope of tariffs decline. Every Free Trade Area, Common market, Economic unions, economic and monetary unions, Custom unions are considered more sophisticated types of PTA hundreds of bilateral PTAs have been signed since the beginning of 20th century. The TREND project of the Canada Research Chair in International Political Economy lists approximately 700 trade agreements, a lot of which are bilateral agreements.

The tariffs preferences in the PTA have produced several departures from the Normal Trade Relations Principle, specifically that World Trade Organization (WTO) member states have to apply the same tariff to imports from other WTO members. With the emergence of the Mega PTAs (wide regional trade agreements like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) or the Transatlantic Pacific Partnership (TPP)), a global trade system completely directed within the framework of the WTO now appears impractical and the interactions among trade systems have to be taken into account.

A Free Trade Area Trading Bloc

A Free Trade Area (FTA) is a region which encircling a trade bloc whose member states sign a Free Trade Agreement. This type of agreements involves cooperation between two or more states to decrease trade barriers, import tariffs and quotas and to boost the trade of goods and services with each other. Furthermore, other than a free trade agreement if people are allowed to freely move in between countries involved in the agreement then it can also be considered as an open border. Free trade areas permit the member states of focus on their competitive benefit and to freely trade for the goods that they have less experience in making, consequently increasing the competence and profitability of every country.

Members of the free trade area do not have any common external tariff, which means that the members have different quotas and custom taxes, along with other policies with respect to the non-member states. The member states use a certification system of origin known as rules of origin to avoid any tariff evasion. In rules of origin there is a requirement for the minimum extent of local material inputs and local transformation which adds value to the goods. The goods that fulfill these minimum conditions are allowed to an exceptional treatment envisioned by the free trade area provisions.

In order to build up a free trade area, the member states have to make rules for how the new trade area will operate? What type of custom processes will every country have to abide by? If there will be any tariff? If so, then what will be the cost of tariff? How the member states have to resolve trade disputes. How the goods will be transported for trade? How the rights for intellectual property will be established and managed? The aim is to make a trade policy that all the states in the FTA will agree upon.

Free trade area has its advantages for the customers, who will get better access to the less costly and/or better quality foreign goods and they will see prices reduce as the governments decrease or remove tariffs. Producers might struggle with more competition; however they might also get a great expanded market of potential consumers. Workers in a few countries and industries may probably lose jobs as production shifts to become much more resourceful on the whole. Free Trade Areas can also boost economic development in countries overall, benefiting everyone who is there through the enhanced living conditions.

One of the most biggest and famous free trade areas was created by the signing of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on January, 1994. This FTA was signed between Canada, US and Mexico which promotes trade among these North American countries.

Customs union is a type of trade agreement in which a group of states chargers a common set of tariffs to the rest of the countries whilst granting free trade between themselves. It is a partial kind of economic integration which provides a middle way between the free trade zones (that permit mutual free trade although don’t have a common tariff procedure) and common markets (that other than the common tariff system permit free movement of resources like capital and labor among member states).

A free trade zone with common tariff is known as a customs union. It has been known that tariff barriers usually decrease the quantity of trade among states. Under the majority of situations this decrease in the trade guards specific domestic producers, however, it also translates into elevated costs for the customers in both the importing and the exporting states. A lot of governments attempt to resolve this issue by guarding politically favored producers whereas also decreasing customer costs. Customs union, together with other types of partial economic integration, provides one means of getting that balance.

In the free trade zones, a lot of countries agree to reduce tariff barriers to each other’s goods in the hope that all will get at least as much of the gains from trading as they face in losses for a few domestic producers. One drawback of the free trade zone approach is the lack of common external tariffs. As the states might differ in the tariffs barriers given to the other states of the world, importers will constantly favor having their goods shipped through countries with low tariffs, even if fuel, labor, or any other prices are higher. Such roundabout shipping ways are unreasonably wasteful. Although the common external tariffs charges by a customs union keep away from the issue of wasteful transport patterns, they do not resolve the issue of wasteful production, an issue sometimes known as trade diversion. For instance, a state which charges a set of the tariff to every other state for a specific good, if a trade occurs at all, it will preferably be in goods which are produced by the lowest cost foreign producer.

The quantity of trade might not be as high as it would be if their tariffs were completely removed, and a lot of the good might be produced domestically at a higher price, however at least the incremental goods bought from the foreign producer will have been proficiently produced. Nonetheless, by carefully decreasing tariffs to member states in a free trade zone or customs union, the home country might permit a partner’s producers to sell the good at a lower cost, although the partner’s production prices are more than the outsider’s. The net effect is to decrease trade with the resourceful, low-cost producer. The bigger volume of trade in a customs union is occasionally referred to as trade creation.

Other types of economic integration consist of common markets, economic unions, and federations. Common markets let free route of labor, funds and other productive resources by decreasing or removing internal tariffs on goods and by producing a common set of external tariffs. Economic unions directly manage the national economic policies of their member states. Federations (like Swiss Federation of Trade Unions) coordinate policies via a federal agency. Most known examples of customs unions is Zollverein which is a 19th-century group established by several German states under the leadership of the Prussian and the EU (European Union), it used to be a customs union at one point in its development however it late developed into full economic integration as a common market.

In a common market, the member states remove internal trade barriers; they implement common external trade barriers and permit free movement of goods and resources like labor between the member states. A con market allows countries to have free movement of capital and services however the big amounts of the trade barriers remain. The common market removes all the quotas and ‘tariffs’, duties on the imported goods. Nonetheless ‘non-tariff barriers’ remain like differences among the countries safety, the requirement of packaging and national administrative process. They check the producers from marketing the same goods in every member state.

The purpose of a common market is most often economic convergence and the establishment of an integrated single market. It is usually considered as the initial stage of a single market. The European Economic Community was the first example of a common market which allowed complete freedom of movement for every factor of production among the member countries, the factors of production become extra resourcefully allocated, also increasing productivity. Other examples of the common market include Mercosur (Southern Cone Market), East African Common Market, and West African Common Market.

A ‘common market’ (or single market) is the initially a major step towards full economic integration, furthermore takes place when member states trade freely in all economic resources, not just material goods. This means that every barrier to trade in goods, services, capital, and labor is eliminated. For a common market to be flourishing there have to also be an important level of harmonization of micro-economic policies, and common rules about monopoly power and other anti-competitive practices. There might also be common policies influencing every major industry, like the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of the European Single Market (ESM).

For business and customers both inside the market and, a single market is a competitive environment, producing the existence of monopolies harder. This means that incompetent businesses will go through a loss of market share and might have to shut down. Nonetheless, competent firms can profit from economies of scale, bigger competitiveness, and lower prices, in addition to expecting productivity to boost as a result. Customers get benefits from the single market in the sense that the competitive environment brings cheaper goods, additionally competent contributors to goods and also a better choice of products.