Bilateral trade is the exchange of goods between two nations that promote trade and investment. Both countries will reduce or eliminate tariffs, import quotas, export restrictions and other trade barriers to promote trade and investment. There are currently a number of free trade agreements in the United States. These include multi-nation agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which includes the United States, Canada and Mexico, and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which includes most Central American nations. There are also separate trade agreements with nations, from Australia to Peru. Overall, the United States currently has 14 trade agreements with 20 different countries. There are a large number of trade agreements; some are quite complex (the European Union), while others are less intense (North American free trade agreement). [8] The resulting degree of economic integration depends on the specific type of trade pacts and policies adopted by the trade bloc: for example, a nation could allow free trade with another nation, with exceptions prohibiting the importation of certain medicines that have not been authorized by its regulators, or animals that have not been vaccinated or processed foods that do not meet their standards. Trade agreements designated by the WTO as preferential agreements are also referred to as regional agreements (RTAs), although they are not necessarily concluded by countries within a given region. Currently, 205 agreements are in effect as of July 2007. More than 300 people have been notified to the WTO.

[10] The number of free trade agreements has increased significantly over the past decade. Between 1948 and 1994, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), predecessor to the WTO, received 124 notifications. Since 1995, more than 300 trade agreements have been concluded. [11] If negotiations for a multilateral trade agreement fail, many nations will instead negotiate bilateral agreements. However, new agreements often result in competing agreements between other countries, eliminating the benefits of the free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries of origin. The agreement reflects the negligible classification of risks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in the United States. Britannica.com: Encyclopedia Articles on trade agreements What prompted you to seek trade agreements? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible). In the modern world, free trade policy is often implemented by a formal and reciprocal agreement between the nations concerned.