General Agreement on Trade in Services, Article V, available at www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/26-gats.pdf [GATS] (noting that the GATS “must not prevent any of its members from being a party to a service liberalisation agreement between or between the parties to such an agreement or from concluding an agreement). The growing number of regional agreements and the considerable trade they cover have prompted the GATT parties to try to strengthen the multilateral discipline that exists during the Uruguayan GATT round. The parties to the GATT have never explicitly rejected a free trade agreement, although they have expressed reservations about the consistency of certain provisions with the GATT4 requirements. The Uruguay Round Agreement on the Interpretation of Article XXIV (1994 Agreement) seeks to strengthen multilateral oversight of regional trade agreements by “specifying the criteria and procedures for evaluating new or extended agreements and improving the transparency of all XXIV agreements”. In 1996, WTO members established the Standing Committee on Regional Trade Agreements (CRTA), which reviews new and existing free trade agreements and examines the overall impact of these agreements on the global trading system6. On 14 December 2006, the WTO General Council introduced a new transparency mechanism for free trade agreements, which includes early notification of free trade negotiations.7 A free trade agreement (FTA) is an agreement between two or more countries in which countries agree on certain obligations affecting trade in goods and services as well as investor protection and intellectual property rights. For the United States, the primary objective of trade agreements is to remove barriers to U.S. exports, protect U.S. interests abroad, and improve the rule of law in partner countries or countries of the free trade agreement. For example, a nation could allow free trade with another nation, with exceptions that prohibit the importation of certain drugs not authorized by its regulators, animals that have not been vaccinated, or processed foods that do not meet their standards. There are currently a number of free trade agreements in the United States.
These include multi-nation agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which includes the United States, Canada and Mexico, and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which includes most Central American nations. There are also separate trade agreements with nations, from Australia to Peru. The trade agreement database provided by ITC`s Market Access Map. Given that hundreds of free trade agreements are currently in force and are being negotiated (approximately 800 according to the rules of the intermediary of origin, including non-reciprocal trade agreements), it is important for businesses and policy makers to keep their status in mind. There are a number of free trade agreement custodians available at national, regional or international level. Among the most important are the database on Latin American free trade agreements, established by the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) , the database managed by the Asian Regional Integration Center (ARIC) with information agreements concluded by Asian countries and the portal on free trade negotiations and agreements of the European Union.  Few subjects divide economists and the scope of public opinion as much as free trade. Studies show that economists at U.S. university faculties are seven times more likely to support a free trade policy than the general public.