When countries engage in free trade agreements, they work towards creating a level playing field in trade by reducing or eliminating barriers such as tariffs, quotas, and other trade restrictions. While the specifics of free trade agreements may vary between countries, there are some common elements that are typically included in most agreements.
However, there are some elements that are not included in free trade agreements. Here are some of the most common elements that are not found in such agreements:
1. Labor and environmental standards: While some free trade agreements may include provisions on labor and environmental standards, these elements are not universally included. Some critics argue that leaving these elements out of agreements can lead to exploitation and environmental degradation in low-wage countries.
2. Intellectual property rights: Many free trade agreements include provisions on protecting intellectual property rights, such as patents and copyrights. However, not all agreements contain these provisions, and some critics argue that they can be used to stifle innovation and limit access to essential medicines.
3. Currency manipulation: Many countries accuse others of manipulating their currency to gain an unfair advantage in trade. However, these accusations are not typically addressed in free trade agreements as they are considered to be a matter of foreign exchange policy rather than trade policy.
4. Agricultural subsidies: Agricultural subsidies can distort trade by providing an unfair advantage to domestic producers. However, these subsidies are not typically addressed in free trade agreements.
5. Investment protection: While free trade agreements often include provisions protecting foreign investors, some critics argue that these provisions can limit the ability of governments to regulate in the public interest.
While these elements may not be included in free trade agreements, they are still important issues that can impact international trade. As countries continue to negotiate new trade agreements, it will be interesting to see how these issues are addressed.