Trade Agreements History

Trade Agreements History in the United States

Note: In relation to free trade Agreements, there is free trade agreeement information in the world legal Encyclopedia.

Trade agreements are one of the best ways to open up foreign markets to U.S. exporters. The United States has agreements in force with 20 countries: Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Peru, Singapore, and South Korea. The United States tparticipated in negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with countries of the Asia-Pacific. The United States is participating in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) with the European Union, a Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and a WTO Environmental Goods (EGA) Agreement.

U.S. Trade Agreements History and Benefits

The United States has implemented 14 trade agreements with a total of 20 countries:


The U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement went into force on January 1, 2005. Since then the U.S. has maintained a trade surplus, which totaled $9.3 billion in 2016. The same year, the United States exported $16.6 billion in goods and imported $7.3 billion in Australian products.


Since its implementation in August 2006, the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement has increased export opportunities for American business. U.S. exports to Bahrain, which totaling $652.3 million in 2016, have been have been consistently higher since the FTA has been in effect. Two-way goods trade reached 1.2 billion in 2016, up 61% since 2005.

Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR)

The Dominican Republic-Central America FTA (CAFTA-DR) is the first free trade agreement between the United States and a group of smaller developing economies: our Central American neighbors Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, as well as the Dominican Republic. The CAFTA-DR promotes stronger trade and investment ties, prosperity, and stability throughout the region and along our Southern border.

Combined, the countries in the CAFTA-DR would represent the United States’ 16th largest goods trading partner, with $53 billion in total (two way) goods trade during in 2015. Exports totaled $29 billion while imports totaled $24 billion. The U.S. goods trade surplus with CAFTA-DR countries was $5 billion in 2015. According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. goods exports to CAFTA-DR supported an estimated 134 thousand jobs in 2014.

  • Costa Rica: Costa Rica implemented CAFTA-DR on January 1, 2009. The President signed implementing legislation on August 2, 2005. In 2016, American firms exported $4.3 billion in goods to Costa Rica, and Costa Rica sent $3.3 billion in imports to the United States.
  • Dominican Republic: Since the implementation of CAFTA-DR in March 2007, the United States has maintained a strong trade surplus with the Dominican Republic. In 2016, the United States exported $5.7 billion in goods and imported $3.5 billion in products from the Dominican Republic.
  • El Salvador: Since implementing CAFTA-DR in March 2006, the United States has maintained a trade surplus with El Salvador. In 2016, the United States exported $2.1 million in goods to El Salvador, while importing $1.9 million in Salvadorian goods.
  • Guatemala: Since Guatemala implemented CAFTA-DR in July 2006, U.S. exports have increased sharply, and were up by 56% in 2016 at $4.4 billion. The United States also imported $3 billion in goods from Guatemala that year.
  • Honduras: Since Honduras joined CAFTA-DR in April 2006, the United States has held a trade surplus with Honduras. In 2016, U.S. businesses exported $3.7 billion in goods to Honduras. Americans also imported $3.5 billion in Honduran goods.
  • Nicaragua: Since Nicaragua joined CAFTA-DR in April 2006, U.S. exports to Nicaragua have been consistently up. In 2016, two-way trade in goods between the two countries totaled nearly $3.7 billion.


Since the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement went into force in January 2004, U.S. exports to Chile have increased from 2.7 billion in 2003 to more than 10 billion in 2016. Chilean exports to the United States have increased from 3.7 billion in 2003 to $6.7 billion in 2016.


Negotiations between Colombia and the United States concluded in February 2006, and the agreement was implemented on May 15, 2012. In 2016, the United States imported $10.4 billion in goods from Colombia and exported goods valued at $9.7 billion to Colombia.


The United States-Israel Free Trade Agreement was the first FTA entered into by the United States. It continues to serve as the foundation for expanding trade and investment between the United States and Israel by reducing barriers and promoting regulatory transparency. U.S. goods and services trade with Israel totaled $46 billion in 2013.

The central oversight body for the FTA is the United States-Israel Joint Committee. In December 2009, the Joint Committee met to exchange views on issues and concerns related to agricultural market access and telecommunications and government procurement, among other topics. Both governments acknowledged the progress and collaborative work that has taken place since the last meeting of the Joint Committee in Washington, DC which was in October 2007. At the 2009 meeting, the United States and Israel agreed that the two sides would explore discussions of a mutual recognition agreement on telecommunications and explore concerns voiced by U.S. exporters in meeting Israeli customs requirements. They also made progress on a number of market access issues related to standards, customs classification, and technical regulations. Both sides agreed to continue the dialogue through the U.S.- Israel Working Group on Standards and Technical Regulations, which last met in March 2009.

Recognizing in the 1990s that the FTA had not served to liberalize some aspects of bilateral agriculture trade, the United States and Israel concluded an Agreement Concerning Certain Aspects of Trade in Agricultural Products (ATAP), which provided for duty-free or other preferential treatment of certain agricultural products. The 1996 agreement was extended through 2003, and a new agreement was concluded in 2004. In December 2009, the two sides agreed to extend that agreement for a second time, extending through December 31, 2010. The Working Group on Agriculture agreed to meet in early 2010 to continue negotiations of a successor to the 2004 ATAP.

The U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement, the United States’ first free trade agreement, went into force on September 1, 1985. Since the FTA went into effect, total two-way goods trade with Israel has quintupled from $4.7 billion in 1985, to over $27 billion in 2016.


Since the implementation of the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement in December 2001, two-way goods trade between the U.S. and Jordan has grown over 350%, from $568 million in 2001 to more than $2 billion in 2016.


The United States and Morocco signed an FTA on June 15, 2004. The Agreement entered into force on January 1, 2006. The United States-Morocco FTA is a comprehensive agreement that supports the significant economic and political reforms that are underway in Morocco and provides for improved commercial opportunities for U.S. exports to Morocco by reducing and eliminating trade barriers.

Since the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement was implemented in January 2006, the United States has maintained a trade surplus with Morocco. In 2016, U.S. exports to Morocco were up 269% at 1.2 billion, while U.S. imports from Morocco totaled $788 million.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

NAFTA went into effect on January 1, 1994. Exports under NAFTA support more than three million American jobs. In NAFTA’s first ten 10 years, trade in goods among the three countries more than doubled from approximately $293 billion in 1993 to nearly $627 billion in 2003. In 2016, goods-trade between the U.S. and the two NAFTA trading partners totaled nearly $800 billion.


Oman was the fifth Middle Eastern country to sign an FTA with the U.S, and the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement was implemented in January 2009. In 2016, the United States exported $1.2 billion in goods to Oman and imported $882 million in Omani products.


President Obama signed the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement in October 2011, and it went into effect on October 31, 2012. The U.S. has maintained a consistent trade surplus with Panama under the agreement. In 2016, the United States exported $4.6 billion in goods to Panama while importing $3056 million in Panamanian products.


The U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement was signed in December 2007. Since then, the United States has maintained a strong trade surplus with Peru. U.S. exports to Peru were up 43% in 2016 at $5.9 billion, while Peruvian imports totaled $4.3 billion.


Since the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement entered into force in January 2004, the U.S. has maintained a trade surplus with Singapore which totaled $5.6 billion in 2016. The same year, the United States exported $19.6 billion in goods to Singapore while importing $13.9 billion in goods from Singapore.

The United States and Singapore held the fifth annual FTA review in December 2009 to assess implementation of the agreement. The two governments agreed that implementation remains on track and discussed ways to deepen the bilateral relationship. During the review, the two sides discussed a range of issues covered by the FTA, including trade in textiles and apparel, telecommunications, and protection of intellectual property rights.

The two sides also discussed the implementation of the environment chapter and environmental cooperation efforts. The United States and Singapore agreed to continue exchanging information on each country’s implementation efforts and how to improve monitoring of compliance with the obligations of the environment chapter.

The FTA review also provided an opportunity for labor officials from both governments to discuss labor issues and potential areas for labor cooperation. As a result, Singapore’s Ministry of Labor has expressed an interest in studying the United States’ system for mediating collective bargaining disputes and improving labor-management relations.

South Korea

The Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS-FTA) entered into force on March 15, 2012. Korea is the United States’ sixth largest trading partner, with two-way goods trade valued at approximately $84.3 billion in 2016. American exports to Korea were valued at $30.7 billion, while imports from Korea totaled $53.5 billion that year.

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