Trade agreements are intended to reduce the barriers to trade between countries, to make it easier to do business internationally and to provide frameworks for the rules that govern global trade. Some agreements, such as those negotiated under the umbrella of the World Trade Organization (WTO), have a global reach. Others are regional.
Trade rules, as distinct from agreements, have a narrower scope and, for the most part, affect importers and exporters at the regulatory level. Some of these rules apply solely to a country’s domestic market and the goods sold within it (such as technical standards for products), while others apply to companies trading between two or more countries (such as the rules that implement free trade agreements).