One of the difficulties of the WTO system has been the problem of maintaining and expanding the liberal system of world trade in recent years. Multilateral negotiations on trade liberalization are progressing very slowly and the demand for consensus among the many WTO members limits the extent to which trade reform agreements can go. As Mike Moore, a recent director-general of the WTO, said, the organization is like a car with an accelerator pedal and 140 handbrakes. While multilateral efforts have been successful in reducing tariffs on industrial goods, they have been much less successful in liberalizing trade in the agricultural, textile and clothing sectors, as well as in other sectors of international trade. Recent negotiations, such as the Doha Development Round, have encountered problems and their ultimate success is uncertain. For the purposes of this definition, NAFTA (NAFTA) is a free trade agreement, the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) (1991) is a customs union, although an “incomplete customs union”, given that not all tolls are reduced to the same level and trade conflicts continue to occur. The U.S. Free Trade Area (SAA) planned by the United States would constitute a free trade area from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego after it comes into force. Regional trade agreements vary according to the level of commitment and agreement between Member States.

The advantage of these bilateral or regional agreements is that they promote greater trade between the contracting parties. They can also accelerate the liberalization of world trade when multilateral negotiations are in difficulty. Some of Canada`s recent free trade agreements allow workers to move more freely between Canada and its partner countries, facilitate cross-border investment, or better protect intellectual property. The European Union is today a remarkable example of free trade. The Member States form an essentially unlimited unit for the purposes of trade and the introduction of the euro by most of these nations paves the way. .