A definite prognosis is that international trade agreements will continue to be controversial. The advantage of these bilateral or regional agreements is to promote stronger trade between the parties to the agreement. They can also accelerate global trade liberalization when multilateral negotiations find themselves in trouble. Reluctant countries that are excluded from bilateral agreements and therefore do not participate in the increase in trade they involve may then be tasked with joining accession and removing their own trade barriers. Proponents of these agreements have called the process “competitive liberalization,” in which countries are challenged to reduce trade barriers in order to stay in touch with other countries. Thus, shortly after nafta was implemented, the EU sought and finally signed a free trade agreement with Mexico to ensure that European products were not at a competitive disadvantage in the Mexican market as a result of NAFTA. The U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement came into force on December 17, 2001. The agreement removes tariffs on U.S. and Jordanian products over a 10-year period; However, most products will be duty-free well before 2011. At the international level, there are two large open-access databases that have been developed by international organisations for policy makers and businesses: Member States benefit from trade agreements, notably in the form of increased employment opportunities, reduced unemployment rates and an expansion of the market.
Since trade agreements generally come with investment guarantees, investors who wish to invest in developing countries are protected from political risks. Trade agreements are generally unilateral, bilateral or multilateral. Some countries, such as Britain in the 19th century and Chile and China in recent decades, have implemented unilateral tariff reductions – reductions that have been made independently and without contrary action by other countries. The advantage of unilateral free trade is that a country can immediately benefit from the benefits of free trade. Countries that remove trade barriers alone do not need to postpone reforms while trying to convince other nations to follow suit. The benefits of such trade liberalization are considerable: several studies have shown that incomes are rising faster in countries that are open to international trade than in countries that are more closed to trade. Dramatic examples of this phenomenon are the rapid growth of China after 1978 and India after 1991, with data indicating when major trade reforms took place. All these agreements still do not collectively add up to free trade in its form of free trade. Bitter interest groups have successfully imposed trade restrictions on hundreds of imports, including steel, sugar, automobiles, milk, tuna, beef and denim. As a result, many countries have shifted from the multilateral process to bilateral or regional trade agreements.