The creation of free trade zones is seen as an exception to the most privileged principle of the World Trade Organization (WTO), since the preferences of the parties to the exclusive granting of a free trade area go beyond their accession obligations.  Although GATT Article XXIV authorizes WTO members to establish free trade zones or to conclude interim agreements necessary for their establishment, there are several conditions relating to free trade zones or interim agreements leading to the creation of free trade zones. As soon as the agreements go beyond the regional level, they need help. The World Trade Organization intervenes at this stage. This international body contributes to the negotiation and implementation of global trade agreements. If no agreement is reached by December 31, many imports and exports will be billed, which could drive up prices for businesses and consumers. WTO conditions would also involve comprehensive border controls on goods, which could lead to bottlenecks at ports and considerable delays. There are concerns about some border delays, even if an agreement is reached, because it will not be as narrow as the current agreements. Governments with free trade policies or agreements do not necessarily abandon import and export controls or eliminate all protectionist policies. In modern international trade, few free trade agreements lead to completely free trade.
In principle, free trade at the international level is no different from trade between neighbours, cities or states. However, it allows companies in each country to focus on the production and sale of goods that make the best use of their resources, while others import goods that are scarce or unavailable domesticly. This mix of local production and foreign trade allows economies to grow faster and, at the same time, better meet the needs of their consumers. On the other hand, some local industries benefit. They are finding new markets for their duty-free products. These industries are growing and employing more labour. These compromises are the subject of endless debate among economists. The world has achieved almost more free trade in the next round, known as the Doha Round Trade Agreement. If successful, Doha would have reduced tariffs for all WTO members overall. At the international level, there are two important free access databases, developed by international organisations for policy makers and businesses: despite British Prime Minister Boris Johnson`s insistence on reaching an agreement by 15 October, no agreement has been reached. Regional trade agreements are multiplying and changing their nature. In 1990, 50 trade agreements were in force.
In 2017, there were more than 280. In many trade agreements, negotiations today go beyond tariffs and cover several policy areas relating to trade and investment in goods and services, including rules that go beyond borders, such as competition policy, public procurement rules and intellectual property rights. ATRs, which cover tariffs and other border measures, are “flat” agreements; THE RTAs, which cover more policy areas at the border and at the back of the border, are “deep” agreements. Many critics of NAFTA saw the agreement as a radical experiment developed by influential multinationals who wanted to increase their profits at the expense of ordinary citizens of the countries concerned. Opposition groups argued that the horizontal rules imposed by nafta could undermine local governments by preventing them from enacting laws or regulations to protect the public interest.