Some countries, such as Britain in the nineteenth century and Chile and China in recent decades, have made unilateral tariff cuts – reductions made independently and without any reciprocal action by other countries. The advantage of unilateral free trade is that a country can immediately reap the benefits of free trade. Countries that remove trade barriers themselves do not need to postpone reforms as they try to convince other nations to follow suit. The benefits of such trade liberalization are considerable: several studies have shown that incomes rise faster in countries open to international trade than in countries more closed to trade. Dramatic examples of this phenomenon are the rapid growth of China after 1978 and India after 1991, which indicate when major trade reforms took place. One of the motivations for these standards is the fear that unconditional trade could lead to a “race to the bottom” in terms of labour and environmental standards, given that multinationals are singing the globe in search of low wages and lax environmental rules in order to reduce costs. Yet there is no empirical evidence of such a breed. In fact, trade usually involves the transfer of technology to developing countries, which makes it possible to increase wage rates, as the Korean economy – among many others – has shown since the 1960s. In addition, increased revenues are allowing cleaner production technologies to become affordable. For example, replacing scooters produced in India with scooters imported from Japan to India would improve air quality in India.
Currently, the United States has 14 free trade agreements with 20 countries. Free trade agreements can help your business more easily enter and compete with the global marketplace through zero or reduced tariffs and other provisions. While the specificities of different free trade agreements are different, they generally provide for the removal of barriers to trade and the creation of a more stable and transparent trade and investment environment. This allows U.S. companies to export their products and services to easier and cheaper commercial markets. Since Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations in 1776, the vast majority of economists have accepted the thesis that free trade between nations improves overall economic well-being. Free trade, normally defined as the absence of tariffs, quotas, or other state barriers to international trade, allows each country to specialize in goods it can produce cheaply and efficiently compared to other countries. . . .