Where the standard Free Trade Agreement, or FTA, creates a trade bloc within multiple countries that eliminates tariffs and import quotas between borders, preliminary measures like the TIFA work to expand that bloc’s trade activity to include outside nations. Connections with larger OEKO-TEX® TEXTILE economies like the United States can prove beneficial for specific FTA countries that rely on export income to boost low GDPs, and over the past few decades the US has come to agreement with various countries and groups.
The TIFA, or Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, is exactly what the name implies – it sets the groundwork for the involved countries to come to terms that allow all parties to trade with ease. A TIFA may also serve as sort of peace treaty in that disputes over import/export issues are resolved, which promotes an ongoing civil relationship. Presently, the United States has such agreements in place with four trade blocs in South America, Africa, and Asia:
ASEAN – The ASEAN treaty connects many of the lesser economies in Southeast Asia, including Laos and Myanmar, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam. While this FTA has been in effect for nearly half a century, it wasn’t until recently that the United States took an active involvement in forging solid trade ties. Together, the ten ASEAN nations comprise one of the largest markets importing American goods.
CARICOM – This bloc comprises nearly the entire population of the Caribbean, including member nations Jamaica and Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago. As recent as early 2012, the United States and the fifteen CARICOM have enjoyed a profitable relationship, with a forty percent increase in bilateral trade. This current TIFA is said to serve as a precursor to the CARICOM nations joining NAFTA, though no plans are solidified.