20190812_Trade_Agreement_IBT This world map shows how many trade agreements different countries have entered. Photo: IBT / Statista

According to an analysis of data from the WTO, the EU 28 countries are – by some margin – the countries with the most trade agreements in the world. While the EC trade agreement among the countries themselves was counted as one agreement, each agreement the EU made with individual countries, like Turkey, Tunisia, Mexico or Ukraine, was counted as one agreement per country.

The U.S. was only part of 14 trade agreements as of August 2019, twelve being bilateral agreements mainly with countries in Latin America and the Middle East, as well as the CAFTA agreement with Central America and the Dominican Republic and the NAFTA agreement with Mexico and Canada, which President Trump has threatened to quit but is now in the process of overhauling.

The EU currently has 41 trade agreements with individual countries or with other free trade areas, as well as the free trade agreement amongst themselves, bringing the count to 42. The EU countries, for example, have trade agreements with the EFTA (European Free Trade Association comprised of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and the Southern African Development Community (including Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Botswana, among others).

EU states and the U.S. are currently not tied together by a trade agreement. The proposed and controversial TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) agreement that should have bridged the divide has failed, even though the parties left a door open to revive talks in the future. The Trump administration, whose policies have been at odds with free trade at times, has not shown a positive attitude towards a possible agreement.

The country with most trade agreements after the EU 28 was Switzerland with 31 agreements as well as Iceland and Norway with 30 agreements each. The map shows that countries close to the EU economic area are closely tied to the EU as well as each other. The trade agreement count in the area is also driven up by European microstates outside the EU (e.g. Andorra, San Mario) signing their own trade agreements. Countries with no trade agreements were found in Africa, where trade agreement density was lowest. Only the Middle East had the same low count of free trade partnerships.