Beginning with the Theodore Roosevelt administration, the United States became a major player in international trade, especially with its neighboring territories in the Caribbean and Latin America. Today, the United States has become a leader of the free trade movement, standing behind groups such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (later the World Trade Organization).
Here is a list of free trade agreements of which the United States is part. In parentheses, the abbreviation, if applicable, membership if not stated before, and the date of coming into force are to be seen.
The United States has started negotiating bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements with the following countries and blocs:
The United States–Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (USBFTA) is a free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and Bahrain, signed on September 14, 2004. It was ratified by the United States House of Representatives on December 7, 2005, by 327–95, with 10 not voting.The United States Senate approved the bill on December 13, 2005, by voice vote. President George W. Bush signed the USBFTA Implementation Act into law on January 11, 2006. The FTA was implemented on August 1, 2006, and will reduce certain barriers of trade between the two countries.Early stages of the Bahrain–U.S. free trade negotiations go back to the year 1999, with the signing of a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), which entered into force May 31, 2001. It is the first such treaty signed between the United States and a member of the GCC, and is aimed at stimulating the flow of private investment between the two countries. Both parties agreed that a stable framework for investment would maximize effective utilization of economic resources and improve living standards. One year later, a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) was signed on June 18, 2002, representing the prelude for the FTA negotiations. The TIFA was designed as a forum for an ongoing bilateral dialogue on economic reform and trade liberalization.Canada–United States Automotive Products Agreement
The Canada—United States Automotive Products Agreement, commonly known as the Auto Pact or APTA, was a trade agreement between Canada and the United States. It was signed by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson and President Lyndon B. Johnson in January 1965.European Union free trade agreements
The European Union has concluded free trade agreements (FTAs) and other agreements with a trade component with many countries worldwide and is negotiating with many others.Fast track (trade)
The fast track authority for brokering trade agreements is the authority of the President of the United States to negotiate international agreements that Congress can approve or deny but cannot amend or filibuster. Renamed the trade promotion authority (TPA) in 2002, fast track negotiating authority is an impermanent power granted by Congress to the President. Fast track authority remained in effect from 1975 to 1994, pursuant to the Trade Act of 1974, and from 2002 to 2007 by the Trade Act of 2002. Although it technically expired in July 2007, it remained in effect for agreements that were already under negotiation until their passage in 2011. The following year, the Obama administration sought renewal of TPA, and in June 2015, it passed Congress and was signed into law by the President. Known as the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015, the legislation conferred on the Obama administration "enhanced power to negotiate major trade agreements with Asia and Europe."Free Trade Area of the Americas
The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) was a proposed agreement to eliminate or reduce the trade barriers among all countries in the Americas, excluding Cuba.H-1B visa
The H-1B is a visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H) that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. A specialty occupation requires the application of specialized knowledge and a bachelor's degree or the equivalent of work experience. The duration of stay is three years, extendable to six years; after which the visa holder may need to reapply. Laws limit the number of H-1B visas that are issued each year: 180,440 new and initial H-1B visas were issued in 2017. Employers must generally withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes from the wages paid to employees in H-1B status.
The H-1B visa has its roots in the H1 visa of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952; the split between H-1A (for nurses) and H-1B was created by the Immigration Act of 1990. 65,000 H-1B visas were made available each fiscal year, out of which employers could apply through Labor Condition Applications. Additional modifications to H1-B rules were made by legislation in 1998, 2000, in 2003 for Singapore and Chile, in the H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004, 2008, and 2009. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has modified the rules in the years since then.Israel–United States Free Trade Agreement
The United States–Israel States Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is a trade pact between the State of Israel and the United States of America established in 1985 to lower trade barriers in some goods. The agreement reduces rates of duty, and in some case eliminates all duties, on merchandise exported from Israel to the United States. The agreement also covers merchandise exported from Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.The U.S.–Israel FTA was the first such free trade agreement entered into by the United States. It is the only FTA the United States has signed that does not include a chapter on intellectual property rights, which have become a staple of all subsequent U.S. trade treaties.Jordan–United States Free Trade Agreement
The United States–Jordan Free Trade Agreement, signed on 24 October 2000, was the first free trade agreement (FTA) the United States signed with an Arab country (and the fourth FTA overall behind Israel, Canada, and Mexico). Products have to be composed of a minimum of 35% Jordanian content to be eligible for trade benefits.Furthermore, the Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZs) established in 1996 under President Bill Clinton allowed products manufactured in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, or the West Bank and Gaza to enter the United States duty-free. Exports need at least 35% of their value added to come from Israel, Jordan (i.e., in the QIZ) and the West Bank or Gaza to qualify as a QIZ beneficiary. Jordanian exports also needed at least 8% of their value added to come from Israel.Malaysia–United States Free Trade Agreement
The Malaysia-US Free Trade Agreement is a proposed treaty between Malaysia and the United States of America. The treaty aims to liberalise each other markets to parties of the agreement and directly encourage trade between the two countries. At the time of proposal in 2005, the US was Malaysia's largest trading partner while Malaysia is the 10th largest trading partner for the US. Negotiation began in June 2005.The Malaysian delegation was led by then Minister of International Trade and Industry, Rafidah Abdul Aziz and the US delegation was led by United States Trade Representative Rob Portman and his deputy, Ambassador Karan K. Bhatia.Morocco–United States Free Trade Agreement
The US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (or Morocco FTA) is a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Morocco. The agreement was signed on June 15, 2004, followed by U.S. President George W. Bush's signing of the USMFTA Implementation Act on August 17, 2004. The United States House of Representatives ratified the pact on July 22, 2004 by a 323–99 vote. The United States Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent on July 21, 2004. The Morocco FTA came into effect on January 1, 2006.It is one of nine free trade agreements entered into by the U.S. since 1985. The agreement is aimed at increasing trade and creating new investment opportunities between the two countries. In relation to the huge U.S. economy, the free trade agreement is expected to have a positive, but small overall effect on the U.S. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has said that the agreement with Morocco is the "best market access package to date of any U.S. free trade agreement signed with a developing country."
Passage of this bill strengthened Morocco – United States relations economically.New Zealand free-trade agreements
New Zealand is party to several free-trade agreements (FTAs) worldwide.Oman–United States Free Trade Agreement
The U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement is a trade pact between Oman and the United States. On November 15, 2004, the George W. Bush administration notified the U.S. Congress of its intent to sign a trade agreement with the Middle Eastern Sultanate of Oman. On January 19, 2006 the two countries signed the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement (OFTA), which is part of the Bush administration's strategy to create a US - Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) by 2013.
On June 29, 2006, the U.S. Senate passed OFTA by a vote of 60-34, the fewest "aye" votes in the Senate of any trade bill other than CAFTA. On July 20, 2006, the U.S. House of Representatives passed OFTA by a vote of 221-205, with 7 abstentions. For procedural reasons, the Senate took a second vote on September 19, 2006, and the bill's implementing bill was passed 62-32, with 6 abstentions. In all, the Senate approved the bill 63-37, since all senators voted either "aye" or "nay" in one of the two votes.
George W. Bush signed the bill into law on September 26, 2006.
And on December 29, 2008 signed the proclamation to implement the agreement with effective date of January 1, 2009.Panama–United States Trade Promotion Agreement
The Panama–United States Trade Promotion Agreement (Spanish: Tratado de Libre Comercio entre Panamá y Estados Unidos or TLC) is a bilateral free trade agreement between Panama and the United States that has been in effect since October 2012. Stated objectives include eliminating obstacles to trade, consolidating access to goods and services and favoring private investment in and between both nations. Apart from commercial issues, it incorporates economic, institutional, intellectual-property, labor and environmental policies, among others.
The negotiations were officially completed on December 19, 2006, though elements were still to be renegotiated. The agreement was signed on 28 June 2007, and Panama's National Assembly ratified it the following 11 July, before the 1200-page document had been translated into Spanish.Peru–United States Trade Promotion Agreement
The United States–Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (Spanish: Acuerdo de Promoción Comercial Perú – Estados Unidos o Tratado de Libre Comercio Perú – Estados Unidos) is a bilateral free trade agreement, whose objectives are eliminating obstacles to trade, consolidating access to goods and services and fostering private investment in and between the United States and Peru. Besides commercial issues, it incorporates economic, institutional, intellectual property, labor and environmental policies, among others. The agreement was signed on April 12, 2006; ratified by the Peruvian Congress on June 28, 2006; by the U.S. House of Representatives on November 2, 2007 and by the U.S. Senate on December 4, 2007. The Agreement was implemented on February 1, 2009.Singapore–United States Free Trade Agreement
The United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement was signed 6 May 2003 and ratified by the US House of Representatives on 24 July 2003 by a vote of 272-155. The US Senate ratified the bill on 31 July 2003 by a vote of 66-32. President George W. Bush signed into law the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act on 3 September 2003. The trade pact was implemented by both countries on 1 January 2004.
In addition to lowering of tariffs, the agreement also allowed easier movement of citizens from both countries. With its implementation, it became possible for some Singaporean citizens to reside in the United States for extended periods of time. Business people and traders with E1 or E2 visa are now allowed a two-year stay period but an indefinite extension is allowed. Professionals with H-1B1 visa are allowed to stay for a maximum period of up to 18 months but indefinite extension can be applied for. There is an annual quota of 5,400 visa for Singaporeans, but this quota has yet to be reached to date. Any unused quota is transferred to the general pool for use by citizens of other countries.United States citizens coming to Singapore are allowed to work in most business occupations for 3 months without a visa or Professional Visit Pass.Transatlantic Free Trade Area
A Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) is a proposal to create a free-trade agreement covering Europe and North America, on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Such proposals have been made since the 1990s. Since 2013 an agreement between the United States and the European Union (EU) has been under negotiation: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. If an agreement is reached and ratified on both sides, it could at least in theory be expanded to include the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Canada and Mexico both have free trade agreements with both the EU and EFTA.U.S.–Middle East Free Trade Area
The U.S. MEFTA initiative started in 2003 with the purpose of creating a U.S. Middle East Free Trade Area by 2013.
The U.S. objective with this initiative has been to gradually increase trade and investment in the Middle East, and to assist the Middle East countries in implementing domestic reforms, instituting the rule of law, protecting private property rights (including intellectual property), and creating a foundation for openness, economic growth, and prosperity.
Among the stated objectives are:
Actively supporting WTO membership of countries in the Middle East and Maghreb
Expanding the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP's) that currently provides duty-free entry to the U.S. market for some 3,500 products from 140 developing economies
Negotiating Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFA's) that establish a framework for expanding trade and resolving outstanding disputes
Negotiating Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT's) with interested countries by obligating governments to treat foreign investors fairly and offering legal protection equal to domestic investors
Negotiating comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (FTA's) with willing countries that demonstrate a commitment to economic openness and reform
Helping to target more than $1 billion of annual U.S funding and spur partnerships with private organizations and businesses that support trade and developmentUnited States–Colombia Free Trade Agreement
The United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA) (Spanish: Tratado de Libre Comercio entre Colombia y Estados Unidos or TLC) is a bilateral free trade agreement between the United States and Colombia. Sometimes called the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, it was signed on November 22, 2006, by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative John Veroneau and Colombian Minister of Trade, Industry, and Tourism Jorge Humberto Botero. CTPA is a comprehensive agreement that will eliminate tariffs and other barriers to trade in goods and services between the United States and Colombia.Colombia's Congress approved the agreement and a protocol of amendment in 2007. Colombia's Constitutional Court completed its review in July 2008, and concluded that the Agreement conforms to Colombia's Constitution. President Obama tasked the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative with seeking a path to address outstanding issues surrounding the Colombia FTA. The United States Congress then took on the agreement and passed it on October 12, 2011. The agreement went into effect on May 15, 2012.United States–Thailand Free Trade Agreement
President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra announced the intention to negotiate a US-Thailand free trade agreement on October 19, 2003 during President Bush's state visit to Thailand on the event of the APEC Leaders' meeting in Bangkok. Mr. Thaksin was deposed in the 2006 Thai coup d'état without having finished negotiating the agreement.
|By country / economic union|
United States free-trade agreements