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International Trade Series
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Trade diversion

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.

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 union is established through trade pact.


List of customs unions

Every Common market and Economic and monetary union has also a Customs Union

Agreements Notified to the GATT/WTO and in Force

Agreement Date (in force) Recent reference
Central American Common Market (CACM) 1961-10-12 WT/REG93/R/B/2
Andean Community (CAN) 1988-5-25 L/6737
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) 1973-8-1 WT/REG92/R/B/1
Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) 1999-6-24 WT/COMTD/N/13
East African Community (EAC) 2000-7-7 WT/COMTD/N/14
Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC) 1997-10-8 WT/REG71/8
European Economic Area (EEA)Needs updating 1958-1-1 WT/REG138/2
- EC — Andorra 1991-7-1 WT/REG53/M/3
- EC — Turkey 1996-1-1 WT/REG22/M/4
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) 2003-1-1 WT/COMTD/N/25
Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) 1991-11-29 WT/COMTD/1/Add.17
Southern African Customs Union (SACU) 2004-7-15 WT/REG231/3
West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) 2000-1-1 WT/COMTD/N/11/Add.1
Current customs unions




See also

  • 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.
  • List of international trade topics


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