While most of the action in the international import export business is in deals and agreements between organizations or individuals, the terms of these contracts might be affected by legal stipulations which govern business relationships. Most countries have laws which determine how products might be imported or exported, but some also are ruled by international treaties. These might have an impact on your international import export company, as well.
The European Union
Though far more than simply a trade treaty, the European union affect international import export businesses, especially those which function within EU countries. The EU developed a single economy with a single currency, which simplified economic transactions. It also wiped out regulations on movements of people, items, services, and capital within its member countries. This has simplified trade both between European union countries and between European union and non EU (third world) countries.
The North American Free Trade Agreement which went into effect in, 1994, is a local arrangement between the USA, Canada, and Mexico. These 3 countries agreed to phase out tariffs on materials products and to reduce limitations on trade in services and on foreign investments. NAFTA has considerably simplified international trade between these 3 countries, with the connection between Canada and the US becoming particularly close. A lot of international import export companies in the united states business primarily with Canada.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations Free Trade Area
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is similar to the EU in that it has a huge number of signatories and it created a geopolitical and economic organization. It was set up to encourage economic development among its member countries. Recently, ASEAN has discussed a free trade area (AFTA) among its member states, that is a prelude to more complete economic integration. Tariffs between member states are lowered, though they retain the right to charge non-ASEAN countries what ever tariff percentage they desire.
Other Trade Agreements
Bilateral and multi-lateral trade agreements between individual nations or between these larger groups of nations are becoming increasingly more common as the global economy becomes much more integrated. Many of these new trade agreements include free trade or reduced tariffs between the signatory nations. The aim is to make international import export freer and also more lucrative for everyone involved.
The World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is not a global export import organization, but rather a global body which aids to set the ground rules for international trade. The WTO is committed to keeping trade flowing as freely as possible without undermining national governments or endangering people or the environment. The WTO agreements are arranged between member nations and have been signed by the majority of countries in the world.
The WTO also provides a trade dispute resolution process.
This list of trade contracts and treaties merely scratches the surface of the number of such treaties in existence. Make sure you read up on the ones that might effect your international import export business!