Unilateral trade arrangements

Are you exporting or importing from a developing country to a developed one? Your goods might benefit from reduced or no tariffs, thanks to a unilateral trade agreement.

What is a unilateral trade agreement?

Unilateral trade agreements are one-sided, non-reciprocal trade preferences granted by developed countries to developing ones, with the goal of helping them to increase exports and spur economic development.

They are meant to

  • foster exports and economic development in beneficiary countries
  • assist their efforts to reduce poverty, promote good governance and support sustainable development
  • encourage compliance with international standards in the areas of human rights, labour rights and environment protection


What does it mean for you?

  • under preferential schemes, you can export/import from a developing country to a developed one by paying smaller or no duties at all
  • your goods must qualify as originating in the beneficiary country, according to rules of origin established by the specific preference scheme
  • product coverage, country coverage and specific rules vary greatly from one agreement/scheme to another


Frequently, unilateral trade agreements are conditioned by evolutions in the fields of human rights, sustainable development and good governance in beneficiary countries. If there are serious and systematic violations, the providing country can withdraw this benefit until the situation improves sufficiently.

Providing countries

Providers of preferential trade agreements include: the EU, Armenia, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Iceland, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, the Kyrgyz Republic, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zeeland, Norway, Russia, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Türkiye and the USA.

Find the list of preferential trade arrangements in the world

Share this page:

Quick links