As the world becomes more interconnected and globalized, free trade agreements (FTAs) have become increasingly important in facilitating international trade. These agreements aim to reduce or eliminate tariffs and other trade barriers between countries, thus promoting economic integration and growth.
As of 2021, there are hundreds of FTAs in force around the world, covering a wide range of countries and regions. Some countries have been particularly active in negotiating and signing these agreements, leading to a high number of established FTAs. Here are the top countries by number of free trade agreements:
1. Chile – 30 FTAs
Chile has been a pioneer in free trade agreements since the 1990s, when it signed its first agreement with Canada. Since then, Chile has signed 29 more FTAs, including with the United States, China, and the European Union. These agreements cover a wide range of sectors, from agriculture to services to intellectual property.
2. Singapore – 27 FTAs
Singapore has been another leader in free trade agreements, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. Its agreements cover countries such as China, Japan, and India, as well as regions like ASEAN and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Singapore`s government has emphasized the importance of open trade and investment as a key driver of economic growth.
3. South Korea – 26 FTAs
South Korea has been actively seeking to expand its global trade relationships, particularly with countries in Asia and Europe. Its FTAs cover important trade partners such as the United States, China, and the European Union, as well as emerging markets like Vietnam and Indonesia. South Korea has also used its FTAs to promote its strategic interests, such as with its FTA with the United States, which includes clauses on intellectual property and labor rights.
4. Mexico – 13 FTAs
Mexico has been a key player in free trade in the Americas, with its most important agreements being NAFTA (which includes the United States and Canada) and the Pacific Alliance (which includes Chile, Peru, and Colombia). Mexico has also signed agreements with countries like the European Union, Japan, and Israel, as well as with its Latin American neighbors.
5. Switzerland – 12 FTAs
Switzerland may be a small country, but it has a big role in international trade. Its FTAs cover countries such as China, Japan, and Canada, as well as regions such as the European Economic Area and the European Free Trade Association. Switzerland has also used its FTAs to promote sustainable development and protect its farmers, as seen in its agreement with Indonesia.
These five countries are not the only ones actively pursuing free trade agreements – many other countries have also signed numerous agreements in recent years. However, the high number of FTAs held by these countries reflects their commitment to open trade and their desire to expand their economic relationships around the world. As global trade continues to evolve, free trade agreements will remain a key tool for promoting growth, reducing poverty, and increasing prosperity for all.