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Customs union

A customs union is a type of trade bloc which is composed of a free trade area with a common external tariff. The participant countries set up common external trade policy, but in some cases they use different import quotas. Common competition policy is also helpful to avoid competition deficiency.[1]

Purposes for establishing a customs union normally include increasing economic efficiency and establishing closer political and cultural ties between the member countries.

It is the third stage of economic integration.

Customs unions are established through trade pacts.

List of current customs unions

Every Economic union, Customs and monetary union and Economic and monetary union has also a Customs Union

Agreement Date (in force) Recent reference
Andean Community (CAN) 1988-5-25 L/6737
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) 1991-1-1
East African Community (EAC) 2005-1-1[2] WT/COMTD/N/14
Eurasian Customs Union 2010-07-1[3]
European Union Customs Union 1958
  EU — Andorra 1991-7-1 WT/REG53/M/3
  EU — San Marino 2002-4-1
  EU — Turkey 1996-1-1 WT/REG22/M/4
IsraelPalestinian Authority 1994[4] [5][6]
Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) 1991-11-29 WT/COMTD/1/Add.17
Southern African Customs Union (SACU) 1910[7] WT/REG231/3
SwitzerlandLiechtenstein 1924

Additionally the autonomous and dependent territories, such as some of the EU member state special territories, are sometimes treated as separate customs territory from their mainland state or have varying arrangements of formal or de facto customs union, common market and currency union (or combinations thereof) with the mainland and in regards to third countries through the trade pacts signed by the mainland state.[8]



Further reading

  • The McGill University Faculty of Law runs a Regional Trade Agreements Database that contains the text of almost all preferential and regional trade agreements in the world.
  • Michael T. Florinsky. 1934. The Saar Struggle. New York: The Macmillan Company.

See also


  1. ^ Winters, Alan L (1991). International Economics, Volume IV. Routledge. pp. 528 pages. 
  2. ^ Signed 2000-7-7, but implemented in 2005.
  3. ^ Customs Union of Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) envisioned in its 1997-10-8 agreement, but not implemented. WT/REG71/8
  4. ^ Established following the Oslo Accords and the Paris protocol.
  5. ^ Paris Protocol
  6. ^
  7. ^ latest revision is from 2004-7-15.
  8. ^ EU Overseas countries and some other territories participate partially in the EU single market per part four of the Treaty Establishing the European Community; Some EU Outermost regions and other territories use the Euro of the currency union, others are part of the customs union; some participate in both unions and some in neither.
    Territories of the United States, Australian External Territories and Realm of New Zealand territories share the currency and mostly also the market of their respective mainland state, but are generally not part of its customs territory.
  9. ^ Agreed on 2003-1-1, WT/COMTD/N/25
  10. ^ GCC countries postpone customs union move
  11. ^ Leaders set to approve Arab customs union
  12. ^ Customs union envisioned in the 1961-10-12 agreement, but not yet implemented. WT/REG93/R/B/2
  13. ^
  14. ^ In the EurAsEC founding documents of 29 March 1996 a customs union is envisioned, but it was not implemented and instead in 2010 the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia was established.

External links

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