Six important trade agreements that are in effect in 2023

International trade agreements play a crucial role in shaping the global economy and facilitating cross-border trade between countries. In recent years, a number of significant international trade agreements have been concluded, offering new opportunities for businesses and economies to grow and prosper. In this article, we will take a closer look at seven more recent international trade agreements.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)

This agreement came into effect on December 30, 2018, and includes the following 11 countries: Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Vietnam, Malaysia, Peru, Brunei, Chile, and Singapore. In general, the CPTPP aims to provide greater market access for goods and services by reducing or eliminating tariffs, improving investment protections, and promoting trade and investment between its member countries. The agreement includes provisions for eliminating tariffs on a wide range of goods, including industrial products, agricultural products, and fisheries products.

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

This agreement was signed in November 2020, but the exact date of its implementation is still to be determined. The RCEP includes the following 15 countries: China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia.

United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

This agreement came into effect on July 1, 2020 and replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) is a trade agreement between African countries that aims to create a single market for goods and services, with free movement of business people and investments. It was launched in 2019 and currently covers 55 African countries with a combined population of over 1.2 billion people and a GDP of over $2.5 trillion. The AFCFTA is considered one of the largest trade agreements in the world, with the potential to transform the African continent into a single market and enhance economic integration, growth, and development. The agreement is expected to lead to an increase in cross-border trade, investment, and job creation, while also helping to increase access to new markets, improve competitiveness, and enhance productivity. The AFCFTA is seen as a key step in supporting Africa’s economic integration and its journey towards a prosperous and sustainable future.

Mercosur-European Union Free Trade Agreement

This agreement was signed in June 2019, but the exact date of its implementation is still to be determined. It involves the South American trade bloc Mercosur, which includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, and the European Union. The planned deal was announced on 28 June at the 2019 G20 Osaka summit after twenty years of negotiations. Although there is agreement in principle, the agreement is not finalises and therefore not entered into force.

Japan-European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

The Japan-European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (JEEPA) is a comprehensive trade agreement between Japan and the European Union that was concluded in 2018. It was designed to reduce barriers to trade between the two regions, increase market access, and promote economic growth and job creation. The JEEPA covers a wide range of areas, including goods, services, investment, and intellectual property.

By eliminating tariffs on goods and services, the JEEPA is expected to increase trade and investment flows between Japan and the European Union, creating new economic opportunities and benefits for businesses, consumers, and workers in both regions.

Where to find more information?

The text of international trade agreements is typically available on the official websites of the governments involved in the agreement, as well as on international organizations that promote trade and investment. Some specific websites where you can find the text of these agreements include:

  1. World Trade Organization (WTO): https://www.wto.org/
  2. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD): https://unctad.org/
  3. International Trade Centre (ITC): https://www.intracen.org/
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