FTA Basics

What is an FTA?

A Free Trade Agreement, or an FTA, is an agreement between two or more countries with the aim of liberalising the trade of goods and services and access to investment between those countries.

By increasing trade and investment, it is intended that the economies will grow to the benefit of the countries involved.

An FTA does this by removing barriers to trade, such as eliminating most (if not all) tariffs and removing quotas on goods that can be exported or imported. Many FTAs also address other barriers to trade, including:

  • Intellectual property protection
  • Restrictions on foreign service providers
  • Government procurement policies that favour domestic industry
  • Customs procedures

Each FTA is negotiated separately and while there are common elements, each reflects the negotiating powers and the particular issues for the countries involved. As such, each is slightly different and care needs to be taken when identifying opportunities.