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What Happens to Tariffs and Quotas under a Free Trade Agreement

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Tariffs and quotas are tools that countries use to control the flow of goods across their borders. Tariffs are taxes that are levied on imported goods, while quotas are limits on the amount of a specific product that can be imported. These measures have been used for centuries to protect domestic industries from foreign competition.

However, when countries enter into a free trade agreement, these measures are usually reduced or eliminated. Free trade agreements aim to promote the free flow of goods and services between countries by removing barriers to trade, including tariffs and quotas.

Tariffs are often the first barrier to be addressed in free trade agreements. When two countries agree to reduce or eliminate tariffs on each other`s goods, it makes those products cheaper and more competitive in the other country`s market. This can lead to increased trade between the two countries, as businesses take advantage of the lower costs.

Quotas, on the other hand, are often more difficult to address in free trade agreements. Quotas are put in place to limit the amount of a specific product that can be imported, which can protect domestic industries from being overwhelmed by foreign competition. However, quotas also limit consumer choice and can lead to higher prices for certain goods.

When negotiating a free trade agreement, countries may agree to gradually reduce or eliminate quotas on certain products over time. This can be a sensitive issue, as domestic industries may resist the removal of quotas that protect their markets.

In some cases, countries may agree to replace quotas with tariffs. For example, if a country has a quota on imported steel, they may agree to replace the quota with a tariff on steel imports. This can still provide some protection for domestic industries while allowing for greater flexibility in trade.

Overall, the goal of a free trade agreement is to reduce barriers to trade and promote the free flow of goods and services between countries. Tariffs and quotas are important tools that countries use to protect their industries, but they can also limit trade and consumer choice. Through negotiation and compromise, free trade agreements aim to strike a balance between these competing interests, resulting in increased trade and economic growth for all parties involved.