Who Enforces Bilateral Trade Agreements

As a general rule, the benefits and obligations of trade agreements apply only to their signatories. The United States has signed bilateral trade agreements with 20 countries, including Israel, Jordan, Australia, Chile, Singapore, Bahrain, Morocco, Oman, Peru, Panama, and Colombia. The logic of formal trade agreements is that they define what is agreed and the sanctions in case of deviation from the rules set out in the agreement. [1] Trade agreements therefore make misunderstandings less likely and create confidence on both sides that fraud will be punished; this increases the likelihood of long-term cooperation. [1] An international organization such as the IMF can provide additional incentives for cooperation by monitoring compliance with agreements and informing third countries of violations. [1] Monitoring by international bodies may be necessary to uncover non-tariff barriers, which are disguised attempts to create barriers to trade. [1] They are easier to negotiate than multilateral trade agreements because they affect only two countries. These include commitments by individual countries to reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade, as well as to open and maintain open services markets. They establish dispute settlement procedures. These agreements are not static; they are renegotiated from time to time and new agreements can be added to the package. Many of them are currently being negotiated within the framework of the Doha Development Agenda launched by WTO trade ministers in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001.

The United States has the right and responsibility to urge other governments to comply with its obligations under trade agreements. If governments don`t, the first resort should be to involve them in direct conversations. If consultations do not lead to full compliance, dispute settlement procedures established under the WTO and other agreements offer opportunities to ensure the correct application of trade agreements. Detailed descriptions and texts of many U.S. trade agreements can be found via the Resource Center on the left. The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC-Central America (CAFTA-DR) is a free trade agreement signed between the United States and the small economies of Central America. .