When a WTO member enters into a regional integration agreement in which it provides more favourable terms for its trade with other contracting parties than other WTO members, it departs from the guiding principle of non-discrimination defined in Article I of the GATT, Article II of the GATS and elsewhere. Trade agreements designated by the WTO as preferential agreements are also referred to as regional agreements (RTAs), although they are not necessarily concluded by countries within a given region. Currently, 205 agreements are in effect as of July 2007. More than 300 people have been notified to the WTO. [10] The number of free trade agreements has increased significantly over the past decade. Between 1948 and 1994, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), predecessor to the WTO, received 124 notifications. Since 1995, more than 300 trade agreements have been concluded. [11] There are pros and cons of trade agreements. By removing tariffs, they reduce import prices and consumers benefit from them. However, some domestic industries are suffering. They cannot compete with countries with lower standards of living. This allows them to leave the store and make their employees suffer. Trade agreements often require a trade-off between businesses and consumers.

In addition, the increase in RTA has come to an end to the overlapping phenomenon of membership. This can hinder trade flows when traders struggle to meet multiple sets of trade rules. As the scope of the ATR extends to areas of action that are not regulated multilaterally, the risk of inconsistencies between the various agreements may be increased. Most of the previous ATRs involved tariff liberalization and related rules, such as trade defence, standards and rules of origin. Increasingly, ATRs have adopted the liberalization of services as well as obligations on service rules, investment, competition, intellectual property rights, e-commerce, environment and work. This could result in regulatory confusion and implementation problems. Reciprocity is a necessary feature of any agreement. If each required party does not win by the agreement as a whole, there is no incentive to approve it. If an agreement is reached, it can be assumed that each contracting party expects to win at least as much as it loses.

For example, Country A, in exchange for removing barriers to country B products, which benefit A consumers and B producers, will insist that Country B reduce barriers to country A products and thus benefit country A producers and perhaps B consumers. Trade agreements occur when two or more nations agree on trade terms between them.