Is it correct to say that import tariffs are unilaterally decided by the nation or bloc applying the tariff?


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It depends on the importing country or bloc (X), and the country the import is coming from (Y), and the product category (Z).

If X is not a WTO member, and is not party to a trade agreement with Y, then tariffs can be set unilaterally.

If X is a WTO member (and has bound Z) or has signed a preferential trade agreement with Y that covers Z, then the tariff can be set unilaterally within (multilateral, bilateral or regionally agreed) limits.

If X is part of a free-trade agreement (or customs union) with Y that covers Z, then X is constrained to allow duty-free import.


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