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Thought Leadership

Trade Agreements

The objective of Trade Agreements is to be able to create opportunities for Americans and help to grow the U.S. economy. USTR (United States Trade Representative) administers the U.S. trade agreements. This comprises monitoring the trading partners' implementation of trade agreements with the United States, enforcing America's rights under those agreements, and negotiating and signing trade agreements that advance the President's trade policy.

World Trade Organization

The United States is member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO Agreement) sets out rules governing trade among the WTO's 154 members.

The United States has free trade agreements (FTAs) in effect with 17 countries. These FTAs build on the foundation of the WTO Agreement. They have more comprehensive and stronger disciplines than the WTO Agreement. Many of the FTAs are bilateral agreements between two governments. Nonetheless some, like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement, are multilateral agreements among several parties.

Trade and Investment Framework Agreement

The Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) is another important agreement. TIFAs provide rules and regulation for governments to discuss and resolve trade and investment issues at an early stage. These agreements are also a means to identify and work on capacity-building where appropriate. The United States also has a series of Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) that help protect private investment, develop market-oriented policies in partner countries and promote U.S. exports.

Doha Development Round

The United States and other WTO Members are currently engaged in Doha Development Round of world trade talks, and a strong, market-opening Doha agreement for both goods and services would be an important contribution to addressing the global economic crisis and helping to restore trade's role in leading economic growth and development.

Importance of Trade Agreements

Since Trade Agreements create opportunities for Americans and help to grow the U.S. economy, the country chooses to have close ties with many countries. It advances the trade and investment objectives of the nation by using the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with regional organizations.