The EFTA Free Trade Agreement covers trade in industrial products (including fish) and agricultural products. These include provisions for the establishment of a joint committee, dispute resolution, rules of origin and trade, as well as competition and the protection of intellectual property rights. The joint negotiation of free trade agreements (FTAs) with partners outside the European Union (EU) allows EFTA to actively pursue its objective of creating business opportunities for its operators and thus generating growth in the economies of its Member States. As such, they can become more competitive outside the EU. In October 2018, the EU and Singapore signed a free trade agreement and an Investment Protection Agreement (PPI). The EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement is the first free trade agreement between the EU and a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The free trade agreement is expected to be implemented in 2019. The EU has trade agreements with these countries/regions, but both sides are now negotiating an update. These large-scale agreements can take several years of detailed negotiations. Regional trade agreements (ATRs) are agreements between two or more parties that set trade rules for all parties. These agreements offer a more favourable treatment of trade between the parties than goods imported from outside the region.
As a general rule, this agreement eliminates or reduces tariffs on imports from regional partners and creates a free trade area. The EU is an example of a regional trade agreement. In short, the EU is a political and economic union that currently consists of 27 Member States. The EU also enters into non-preferential trade agreements under broader agreements such as Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (CPAs). Brexit: British trade „difficult when the Irish border is unresolved“ While a member of the EU, the UK was automatically part of some 40 trade deals that the EU had with more than 70 countries. In 2018, these activities accounted for about 11% of total trade in the UK. According to the WTO, it can be so important to promise that there will be no removal of a trade barrier as to reduce one, as if it were predictive for businesses. This will encourage investment, create jobs and enable consumers to take full advantage of the benefits of competition – choice and lower prices.  trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2018/october/tradoc_157468.pdf This interactive map provides an overview of EFTA`s preferential trade relationships with partners around the world. Click on any country that displays in color for more information.
The limits presented do not affect their legal status. An image of the map (large version) can be downloaded. These agreements are negotiated by three or more countries. Multilateral agreements allow all parties to be equal with each other. No country can make better trade agreements to one country than another. It also means that negotiations on multilateral agreements are very complex and difficult due to the increase in the number of participants. In 2019, the European Union and Vietnam have agreed on a free trade agreement. The trade agreement includes a number of goods and services. The agreements set significant tariff reductions for food and beverage products, as well as the removal of a number of non-tariff barriers. The agreement also contains obligations on international workers` rights and protection, global environmental agreements and human rights. Unilateral trade policies can be tariffs, or they can be trade preferences programmes, such as the EU`s Generalised Preference System (GSP), and can be used as a strategy to promote economic growth in developing countries.