In this way, many countries rely on bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements to promote free trade and globalization faster and more flexibly. In fact, free trade agreements require the approval of only a limited number of like-minded countries, as opposed to the general approval of all WTO members required to conclude a round of negotiations. These agreements also allow countries to address broader issues such as bilateral investment, labour migration and regulation. As a result, the number of existing and negotiated free trade agreements has exploded since the mid-1990s, from 100 agreements in 1990 to more than 400 in 2008. [2] In February 2006, WTO members established a Committee on Regional Trade Agreements to review agreements notified under Article XXIV, develop procedures for a more effective approach, and “assess the systemic impact of such agreements.” for the multilateral trading system and the relationship between them”. 15 However, persistent differences of opinion on the interpretation of Article XXIV, insufficient information between the parties to the FTA and the fact that the Committee`s reports had to be approved by all WTO Members (including those participating in the free trade agreements to be examined) resulted in the absence of formally adopted reports. The main problem is political. Developed countries are the main drivers of this approach, as most multinational companies come from the OECD. But their agenda is vast and potentially far-reaching, especially when applied in developing countries with a weak capacity to understand agreements. But the United States and the European Union have never been able to agree on a common approach, and the prospects for that are not good. In addition, each region and free trade agreement has its own preferences. Spaghetti is multiplying and the management of the trade becomes more complex; Harmonization still seems a long way off.

However, as rtAs have increased, other issues have come to the fore. An important debate revolves around the impact of ART on increasingly fragmented global supply chains. One of the arguments in favor of RAs is that they are a more effective way to move forward on the “deep integration” issues that these modern supply chains need to function well. However, this advantage is under-exploited by the increase in transaction costs associated with the overlap and inconsistency of ART with different duty rates for the same product and different rules of origin. According to Baldwin and Thornton (who summarize a conference on regionalism co-organized by the WTO), the effect of the “spaghetti bowl” has become a major concern of the international business community. 25 When it comes to the third fundamental requirement that, in general, obstacles for third parties must not increase, this becomes more complicated. Given that free trade agreements are much more common than customs unions, this does not seem to be the case. In the case of free trade agreements, there is no need to negotiate a common external tariff and the tariff applicable to non-parties should generally not change. But there are other channels through which discrimination against foreigners under free trade agreements can increase. .