The European Single Market is (obviously) a Single Market.

Are Single Markets also free trade areas?


1 Answer 1


Free trade area means there's no customs checking goods traded within that area.

From Wikipedia:

The European Single Market, Internal Market or Common Market is a single market which seeks to guarantee the free movement of goods, capital, services, and labour – the "four freedoms" – within the European Union (EU).

So goods are traded freely within the EU, and hence EU is an FTA.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't think that's the most common meaning of "free trade area" and it is certainly used in slightly different ways. According to Wikipedia it's most often used to mean the area covered by an FTA, but FTAs often don't eliminate all tariffs and generally don't allow free movement of non-originating goods, so customs checks at borders remain necessary. The EU abolished customs checks through later stages of economic integration. $\endgroup$
    – Dan
    Jul 1, 2019 at 8:43
  • $\begingroup$ Good point. I guess what I was thinking was a customs union. The point, though, is that, in my view, FTA is a necessary condition for a single market. $\endgroup$
    – Art
    Jul 1, 2019 at 9:04

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