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MARKET AREA: In general, a geographic area in which a firm can profitably sell an output or buy an input. The size of a market area is based on the transportation cost of the input or output relative to the price. A higher price or lower transportation cost will increase the market area.

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NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT: A economic, international trade treaty between the three nations that occupy the North American continent -- Canada, Mexico, and the United States -- that was launch in 1994. The North American Free Trade Agreement, commonly termed NAFTA, is designed to eliminate assorted trade barriers between Canada, Mexico, and the United States, including the reduction or elimination of many tariffs and nontariff barriers. While economic theory clearly indicates efficiency is enhanced by the reduction and elimination trade restrictions, NAFTA has been strongly opposed by those potentially harmed by more efficient trade, especially labor unions. However, NAFTA is merely one of several international trade agreements created over the years to reduce trade restrictions. Others include the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the Maastricht Treaty.

     See also | international trade | foreign trade | tariff | nontariff barrier | labor union | trading bloc | General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade | Maastricht Treaty | common market | customs union | economic union | free-trade area | World Trade Organization |


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CONSTRAINED UTILITY MAXIMIZATION

The process of obtaining the highest possible level of utility from the consumption of goods or services, under given restrictions, when the highest overall level of utility cannot be reached. The notion of constrained utility maximization is a modification of the more general utility maximization assumption. It is based on the recognition that consumers might be restricted from achieving the absolute maximum level of utility. The primary restrictions tend to be the amount of income available relative to price paid. Constrained utility maximization generally does reach the peak of the total utility curve.

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