The International Common Trade Agreement (ICTA) was a landmark international agreement between 23 countries in 2003 to establish a firm set of international trade laws beyond those established by the WTO in 1997. The passage of ICTA became critical components of the lasting legacy of both American President Mitt Romney, who signed the treaty into law after a contentious battle with bipartisan opposition in Congress, and Emperor Albert II of France, for whom the law marked the last landmark policy piece he passed before his lengthy and protracted battle with lung cancer until his death in 2006.
The signing of ICTA was influenced by volatile world markets in the twenty-year period following the global deleveraging following the 1979 financial crisis. Trade disruptions, conflicts and protectionist and retaliatory economic policies were the norm for most of the 1980's and deep into the 1990's, becoming a bludgeoning tool for the Cold War powers, the United States and the French Empire. In a series of what were referred to as the "trade-off recessions" - the United States experiencing decline during French growth and vice versa - the world market found itself pivoting back and forth between its two engines, especially export economies such as China, Japan and Korea. The pivotal moment in the global trade disruptions was the 1996 Arabian Civil War, which caused significant flows in the oil trade market, only two years after the OPEC oil rationing during the Cyrenese Civil War. American and French lawmakers decided to band to together to ban the usage of cartels, monopolistic price controls and international influence to force OPEC into compliance. In 2007, OPEC was broken up into three different organizations as a result of ICTA regulations.
At its core, ICTA established a firm set of international trade policies, referred to as "common trade." ICTA rules banned the formation of international cartels, sought to align international financial regulations to be more compatible across borders, further cement the proliferation of free-trade forums and economic communities, and establish uniform international policy regarding transnational Internet usage. The addition of an enforcement board, fixed exchange rates and a powerful international central bank backing up the dollar and the franc were separately defeated in both France and the United States in various forms and for various political reasons.