In this first article in my new column devoted to Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), I thought it wise to give a strategic overview of FTAs and their impact on trade and, in particular, the impact on the individual company or trade professional.
The important point to remember about FTAs is that they all have two things in common. The good news is that a FTA confers the benefit of duty-free or reduced-duty treatment to qualifying importations.
The bad news is that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) views FTAs as "give backs," and they take a very conservative view and are strict about the documentation needed to qualify an imported product. In a related bit of further bad news, safeguard legislation is in place to re-impose trade barriers if the FTA proves to be too much of a good thing.