A free trade agreement is an agreement between two or more countries in which countries agree on certain obligations that affect trade in goods and services as well as the protection of investors and intellectual property rights. For the United States, the primary objective of trade agreements is to remove barriers to U.S. exports, protect U.S. interests abroad, and improve the rule of law in partner countries or countries of the free trade agreement. The benefits of free trade were outlined in On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, published in 1817 by economist David Ricardo. Free trade policy has not been as popular with the general public. Key issues include unfair competition from countries where lower labour costs are reducing prices and the loss of well-paying jobs for producers abroad. Economists have tried to assess the extent to which free trade agreements can be considered public goods. First, they deal with a key element of free trade agreements, the system of on-board tribunals, which act as arbiters in international trade disputes. These serve as a clarification of existing statutes and international economic policies, as confirmed by trade agreements.  However, it is unlikely that trade in financial markets is completely free in our time. There are many supranational regulatory bodies for global financial markets, including the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the International Organization of the Financial Markets Authority (IOSCO) and the Committee on Capital Movements and Invisible Transactions.
There are pros and cons of trade agreements. By removing tariffs, they reduce import prices and consumers benefit from them. However, some domestic industries are suffering. They cannot compete with countries with lower standards of living. This allows them to leave the store and make their employees suffer. Trade agreements often require a trade-off between businesses and consumers. New Zealand strives to implement the fundamental principles of integrating environmental objectives into the 2001 trade agreements, including the obligation not to use or weaken labour laws and the environment, trade policies, regulations and practices for trade protection purposes, or weaken them to promote trade or investment.