Country Trade Agreements
Switzerland (which has a customs union with Liechtenstein, sometimes contained in agreements) has concluded bilateral agreements with the following countries and blocs: One difficulty with the WTO system has been the problem of maintaining and expanding the liberal system of world trade in recent years. Multilateral negotiations on trade liberalization are progressing very slowly and the demand for consensus among the many WTO members limits the extent to which trade reform agreements can go. As Mike Moore, a recent director-general of the WTO, said, the organization is like a car with an accelerator pedal and 140 handbrakes. While multilateral efforts have been successful in reducing tariffs on industrial goods, they have been much less successful in liberalizing trade in the agricultural, textile and clothing sectors, as well as in other sectors of international trade. Recent negotiations, such as the Doha Development Round, have encountered problems and their ultimate success is uncertain. Trade unions and environmentalists in rich countries have been the most active in the search for labour and environmental standards. The danger is that the application of these standards will simply become an excuse for protectionism in rich countries, which would harm workers in poor countries. In fact, the people of poor countries, capitalist or working class, were extremely hostile to the imposition of such norms. For example, the 1999 WTO meeting in Seattle partially collapsed because developing countries opposed the Clinton administration`s attempt to include labour standards in multilateral agreements. The preface (other languages), published in November 2020 by Sabine Weyand, Director-General of DG Trade, provides an overview of the successes achieved in 2019 and the ongoing work for the EU`s 36 main preferential trade agreements.
The working document attached by the Commission services contains detailed information under the trade and partner agreements. These occur when one country imposes trade restrictions and no other country responds. A country can also unilaterally ease trade restrictions, but this rarely happens. This would put the country at a competitive disadvantage. The United States and other developed countries are only doing this as a kind of foreign aid to help emerging countries strengthen strategic industries that are too small to be a threat. It helps the economies of emerging economies grow and creates new markets for the United States.