Governments with free trade policies or agreements do not necessarily relinquish all control over imports and exports or eliminate all protectionist policies. In modern international trade, only a few free trade agreements (FTA) lead to full free trade. Unlike a customs union, the parties to a free trade agreement do not maintain common external tariffs, which means that they apply different tariffs as well as different directives towards non-members. This property creates the possibility that non-parties can make stowaway preferences under a free trade agreement by entering the market with the lowest external fares. Such a risk requires the introduction of rules to identify originating products eligible for preferences under a free trade agreement, which is not necessary when forming a customs union.  In principle, a minimum level of processing is required, leading to a “substantial transformation” of the goods for them to be considered originating. In defining which goods originate in the PTA, the preferential rules of origin distinguish between originating and non-originating products: only the former are entitled to the preferential duties set by the FREE TRADE AGREEMENT, the latter must pay the most-favoured-nation customs duties.  The Financial Services Annex provides for the Parties to conclude a framework agreement establishing specific mutual recognitions. We provide for mutual recognition under these agreements in all areas of financial services, which would allow the parties to pursue their different regulatory approaches while cooperating to determine the necessary outcomes that should be achieved with the rules. These results have been largely harmonized between the United States and the United Kingdom since the 2007-2008 financial crisis, when systemic risk issues were widely discussed and accepted. Trade agreements are usually unilateral, bilateral or multilateral. The second way in which free trade agreements are seen as public goods is related to the trend towards their “deepening”.
The depth of a free trade agreement refers to the additional types of structural policies it covers. While older trade agreements are considered “flatr” because they cover fewer areas (such as tariffs and quotas), recent agreements deal with a number of other areas, from services to e-commerce to data localization. Since transactions between parties to a free trade agreement are relatively cheaper than transactions with non-parties, free trade agreements are traditionally considered excluded. Now that deep trade agreements will improve regulatory harmonization and increase trade flows with non-parties, thereby reducing the exclusionability of the benefits of the FTA, next-generation free trade agreements are taking on essential characteristics of public goods.  According to prevailing economic theory, the selective application of free trade agreements to some countries and tariffs to others can lead to economic inefficiency through the process of trade diversion. This is effective when a good is produced by the country that is the most profitable producer, but it does not always happen when a high-cost producer has a free trade agreement while the low-cost producer faces a high tariff. .