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Get With the Program Trade treaties give you an edge--so don't let their advantages pass you by.

By Gail Dutton

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you think international trade agreements matter only to big companies, think again. Firms of all sizes and in all industries are using treaties and preference programs to their competitive advantage to open up new markets, locate facilities and suppliers, and make strategic decisions.

The treaties tend to beef up intellectual property protection and guarantee other rights, as well as eliminate tariffs, quotas and subsidies. They often let U.S. firms conduct business "as if they were domestic," says Tom Travis, author of Doing Business Anywhere: The Essential Guide to Going Global.

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