The United States has another multilateral regional trade agreement: the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). This agreement with Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua eliminated tariffs on more than 80% of exports of non-textile products in the United States. The U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement came into force on December 17, 2001. The agreement removes tariffs on U.S. and Jordanian products over a 10-year period; However, most products will be duty-free well before 2011. 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. A free trade agreement is an agreement between two or more countries in which countries agree on certain obligations relating to trade in goods and services, investor protection and intellectual property rights. For the United States, the primary objective of trade agreements is to remove barriers to U.S. exports, protect U.S.
interests abroad, and improve the rule of law in partner countries or countries of the free trade agreement. Removing trade barriers and creating a more stable and transparent business and investment environment make it easier and cheaper for U.S. companies to export their products and services to the markets of their trading partners. There are pros and cons of trade agreements. By removing tariffs, they reduce import prices and consumers benefit from them. However, some domestic industries are suffering. They cannot compete with countries with lower standards of living. This allows them to leave the store and make their employees suffer. Trade agreements often require a trade-off between businesses and consumers. A government does not need to take concrete steps to promote free trade. This upside-down attitude is called „laissez-faire trade“ or trade liberalization.
The U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement came into force on January 1, 2004. At that time, more than 85% of two-degree trade in consumer goods and industrial goods was exempt from tariffs. Tariffs on other products will be phased out over a 12-year period.