Free trade agreements, which are free trade zones, are generally outside the scope of the multilateral trading system. However, WTO members must inform the secretariat when new free trade agreements are concluded and, in principle, the texts of free trade agreements are reviewed by the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements.  Although a dispute in free trade areas is not the subject of litigation within the WTO`s dispute resolution body, “there is no assurance that WTO panels will comply and reject jurisdiction in a particular case.”  The economist has attempted to assess the extent to which free trade agreements can be considered public goods. First, they deal with a key element of free trade agreements, the system of on-board tribunals, which act as arbiters in international trade disputes. These serve as a clarification of existing statutes and international economic policies, as confirmed by trade agreements.  First, tariffs and other rules applicable to trade with non-parties to this free trade area in each of the parties that signed a free trade area in force at the time of the creation of this free trade area must not be higher or more restrictive than tariffs and other rules applicable in the same signatory countries prior to the creation of the free trade area. In other words, the creation of a free trade area to give preferential treatment to their members is legitimate under WTO law, but parties to a free trade area are not allowed to treat non-parties less favourably than before the creation of the territory. A second requirement under Article XXIV is that tariffs and other trade barriers must be eliminated primarily for all trade within the free trade area.  Since WTO members are required to communicate their free trade agreements to the secretariat, this database is based on the official source of information on free trade agreements (called the WTO-language regional trade agreement).
The database allows users to obtain information on trade agreements that are communicated to the WTO by country or theme (goods, services or goods and services).