Trade bloc

Trade bloc

A trade bloc is a large free trade area formed by one or more tax, tariff and trade agreements. Typically trade pacts that define such a bloc specify formal adjudication bodies, e.g., North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) trade panels. This may include even a more democratic and participative system, as the European Union (EU) and its parliament.

Particularly since the demise of most of the world's empires, a number of international— generally regionally based—economic blocs have been developed to promote trade between member states.

Several blocs also have stated or implicit political goals—notably the EU. Varieties of economic blocs include free trade areas, customs unions, single markets, and economic and monetary unions.

One of the first economic blocs was the German Customs Union ("Zollverein") initiated in 1834, formed on the basis of the German Confederation and subsequently German Empire from 1871.

A trade bloc is established through a trade pact (or pacts) covering different issues of the economic integration.

Most active regional blocs

It is possible that a country is member of two (or more) different blocs. To avoid overlapping for this classification such countries are only included in the most active of the blocs in question. The "activity" of each block is measured by the following three criteria:
* to have greater real practical achievements (not only declarations that are not followed by actual actions by its members)
* to have more recent (or regular) activities (meetings, new agreements, other internal procedures)
* to have more ambitious plans for future integration and a tighter timescale for it.

Also a country may be classified here as part of the less active regional bloc if the country itself is more active in it; Venezuela, for example, is a member of both the Andean Community and Mercosur. While Mercosur is a more active bloc than the Andean Community, Venezuela itself is much more active in the Andean Community than in Mercosur. Therefore Venezuela is assigned to the Andean Community for the purpose of this classification. ("This is only an example. So, note, that Venezuela is planning to completely integrate with Mercosur by 2010").

Priority is given to such regional blocs that have ambitions for integration in more spheres than just economy (i.e., political, defense and other spheres). Sometimes activities are divided between different (but related) blocs with small deviations in membership (e.g., NATO and EU members are "almost" the same).

Some colors on the map are used multiple times for different blocs. A darker color means "full member"; a lighter color means "associate state", "observer state", "prospective member", "candidate", "acceding state" or a similar status.

List of regional blocs

African Economic Community (AEC)

*full members of ECOWAS: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo
*full members of CEMAC: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon
*full members of ECCAS: Democratic Republic of the Congo, São Tomé and Príncipe
*full members of EAC: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda
*full members of SACU: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland
*full members of SADC: Angola, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Zambia, Zimbabwe
*full members of COMESA: Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Comoros
*full member of IGAD: Somalia
*full member, other: Algeria
*full member, other, partially recognized state: Sahrawi Republic

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

* full members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar [seeks membership in SAARC [] ] [ [] ] , Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
* candidate: Timor-Leste [cite news | title = Timor Leste Keen To Be Asean Member In Five Years | publisher = Malaysian National News Agency - BERNAMA| date = February 3 2007 | url = ]
* +3: China, [cite news | title = India, Bhutan's Big Question: China in SAARC | publisher = The Indian Express| date = February 3 2007 | url =] [ [ Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan want China in SAARC - Irna ] ] Japan, South Korea

Central American Integration System (CAIS)

* full members: Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
* BCIE partner: Taiwan

Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

* full members: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago
* full members, non-sovereign autonomous entities of the United Kingdom: Montserrat
* associate members, non-sovereign autonomous entities of the United Kingdom: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands
* candidate for associate membership, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands: Netherlands Antilles (prospectively Curacao, Sint Maarten)
* observer, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands: Aruba
* observer, commonwealth of the United States: Puerto Rico

Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC)

* full members: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
* observer: Armenia

European Economic Area (EEA)

*Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA)
** full members: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia
** full members, non-sovereign entities administered by the United Nations: Kosovo

*European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
** full members: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland

*European Union (EU)
** full members: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
**overseas countries and territories of France: "French Southern and Antarctic Lands", Mayotte, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon
**overseas countries and territories of the United Kingdom: "British Antarctic Territory", "British Indian Ocean Territory", Falkland Islands, Saint Helena (including its dependencies Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha), "South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands"
** candidates: Croatia, Republic of Macedonia, Turkey
** Schengen area partner, non-sovereign autonomous entity of the United Kingdom: Gibraltar
** customs unions with non-sovereign autonomous entities of the United Kingdom: Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey
** customs union with the neutral and demilitarised autonomous region of Finland: Åland Islands
** currency unions with: Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City

Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA)

* full members of the Agadir Agreement: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia
* full members of the CCASG/GCC: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
* full members, other: Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Palestinian Authority, Syria, Yemen
* candidate: Mauritania

GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development (GUAM)

* full members: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

* full members: Canada, Mexico, United States of America

Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)

* full members: Australia [seeks further integration with ASEANcite news | title = Australia Seeks Free-Trade Accord, Asean Membership at Summit | publisher = Bloomberg| date = January 13 2007 | url = ] , Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
* full members, non-sovereign autonomous entities of New Zealand: Cook Islands, Niue
* associate members, overseas territories of France: French Polynesia, New Caledonia
* observer, territory of New Zealand: Tokelau
* observer, overseas territory of France: Wallis and Futuna
*SPC partners, unincorporated territories of the United States: American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands
*SPC partner, non-sovereign autonomous entities of the United Kingdom: Pitcairn Islands

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

* full members: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
* observer: Iran

Union of South American Nations (Unasur/Unasul)

* full members of MERCOSUR: Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela
* full members of the CAN: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
* full member, CAN associate member: Chile
* LAIA partner: Cuba

Other entities

* Sovereign states
**Israel: problems with neighbors, member of the Mediterranean Union
**Mongolia: unlikely to join any bloc
**North Korea: unlikely to join any bloc
**Turkmenistan: unlikely to join any bloc

* Dependent territories
** WTO members, SARs of China:
*** Hong Kong: APEC member
*** Macau: unlikely to join any bloc
** territories of Australia:
*** Christmas Island: unlikely to join any bloc
*** Cocos (Keeling) Islands: unlikely to join any bloc
*** Norfolk Island: unlikely to join any bloc
** self-governing overseas administrative divisions of Denmark
***Faroe Islands: unlikely to join any bloc
*** Greenland: left the EU, status regarding currency and customs union unclear
** territory of Norway under the Svalbard treaty
*** Svalbard: unlikely to join any bloc
** organized territory within the United States
*** U.S. Virgin Islands: unlikely to join any bloc

* partially recognized states
** by Turkey
*** Northern Cyprus: de jure part of the EU, problems with status
** by Russia and Nicaragua
*** Abkhazia: problems with status
*** South Ossetia: problems with status

* Unrecognized states:
** Nagorno-Karabakh: problems with status
** Somaliland: problems with status
** Transnistria problems with status

Comparison between regional blocs

1 not all members participating yet
2 involving goods, services, telecommunications, transport (full liberalisation of railways from 2012), energy (full liberalisation from 2007)
3 telecommunications, transport and energy - proposed
4 sensitive goods to be covered from 2019
5 least developed members to join from 2012
6 least developed members to join from 2017

ee also

* Globalization
** List of international trade topics
*** International organisation
**** List of trade blocs
***** World Trade Organization
***** European Union
***** North American Free Trade Agreement
***** ECOWAS
***** GCC
***** GAFTA
***** Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
***** Shanghai Cooperation Organization
*** List of Free Trade Agreements
**** Transatlantic Free Trade Area
**** Agadir Agreement
** Anti-globalization movement
** World Economy
*** Economy of Africa
*** Economy of Asia
*** Economy of Europe
*** Economy of North America
*** Economy of Oceania
*** Economy of South America
**** Amero
**** Euro
**** Eco (currency)


External links

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