A trade bloc is a large free trade zone or near-free trade zone formed by one or more tax, tariff and trade agreements. Typically trade pacts that define such a bloc specify formal adjudication bodies, e.g. NAFTA trade panels. This may include even a more democratic and participative system, as the EU and its parliament.
Particularly since the demise of most of the world's empires, a number of international—generally regionally based—economic blocs have been developed to promote trade between member states.
Several blocs also have stated or implicit political goals—notably the EU. Varieties of economic blocs include free trade areas, customs unions, single markets, and economic and monetary unions.
One of the first economic blocs was the German Customs Union (Zollverein) initiated in 1834, which formed the basis of the German Confederation and subsequently empire that came in 1871.
List of trade blocs
Last updated: 06-02-2005 13:24:49