This necessarily implies the abolition of tariffs and quotas for imports among the member-nations, without abolishing the same tariffs and quotas in their trade with third countries. Essentially, the free trade area agreement is a preferential trade agreement, and the products covered by the removal of tariffs and trades may be limited, or may encompass the entire manufacturing sector.
The next stage of economic integration is the customs union, where internal tariffs and quotas are accompanied by certain external trade restrictions, or where external tariffs and quotas are harmonized. This level of integration sought to address the weakness of the free trade area, which was vulnerable because of the member countries’ unequal policies with external trade. This invited third countries to target the member country with the most favourable tariff policies. Under the customs union, there is resort to the creation of common regulatory bodies and institutions endowed with police powers to control and regulate trade within the union.
The third level, the common market, is also known as a single market. In this stage of integration, there is free factor mobility of goods among the member countries, in the form of goods, capital, labour, and services. A more intense level of regulation is implicit, and institutions are established to monitor and oversee that decisions adopted by each state does not alter the free factor mobility in the territory.
The economic union is the fourth level of integration, at which the member states harmonize their economic policies, mainly in the areas of economic and fiscal policy. A series of central institutions aids in the coordination of particular areas of economic policy to the point that sovereign states relinquish control to the supranational body.
Finally, complete economic integration results with the subsequent and