Once negotiated, multilateral agreements are very powerful. They cover a wider geographic area, giving signatories a greater competitive advantage. All countries also give themselves the status of the most favoured nation – and grant the best conditions of mutual trade and the lowest tariffs. Trade statistics and details of the existing trade agreement A difficulty with the WTO system has been the maintenance and extension of the liberal global trading system in recent years. Multilateral negotiations on trade liberalization are progressing very slowly and the need for consensus among the many WTO members limits the scope of trade reform agreements. As Mike Moore, a new WTO Director General, said, the organization is like a car with an accelerator pedal and 140 hand brakes. While multilateral efforts have reduced tariffs on industrial products, they have been much less successful in liberalizing trade in agriculture, textiles and clothing, as well as in other sectors of international trade. Recent negotiations, such as the Doha Development Round, have been difficult and their ultimate success is uncertain. Trade pacts are often politically controversial because they can change economic practices and deepen interdependence with trading partners.
Improving efficiency through « free trade » is a common goal. Most governments support other trade agreements. A clause relating to the « government treatment of non-tariff restrictions » is necessary, as most tariff characteristics can easily be duplicated by a set of non-tariff restrictions, designed accordingly. These include discriminatory rules, selective excise or sales taxes, specific health requirements, quotas, « voluntary » import restrictions, specific licensing requirements, etc., not to mention general prohibitions. Instead of trying to list and ban all kinds of non-tariff restrictions, the signatories of an agreement require similar treatment to the processing of products manufactured within the country (for example. B steel). 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.