raise awareness among the negotiating team and other government agencies, the private sector and science, as well as key policy makers, including parliamentarians on the GATT and WTO agreements, the accession process, the obligations and benefits of WTO membership. It will ensure that the agreements lead to complementary economies of scale and increase production capacity, which will improve intra-regional trade opportunities and trade development benefits. In response to this mandate, the Trade and Development Council examined trends in international trade in goods and services and trade policy. Although the WTO embodies the principle of non-discrimination in international trade, Article 24 of the GATT authorizes the creation of free trade zones and „customs unions“ among WTO members. A free trade area is a group of countries that remove all tariffs on trade with each other, but retain their autonomy in setting their tariffs with non-members. A customs union is a group of countries that remove all tariffs on trade between them, while maintaining a common external tariff for trade with countries outside the EU (which is technically contrary to the MFN). Trade agreements, any contractual agreement between states on their trade relations. Trade agreements can be bilateral or multilateral, i.e. between two states or more than two states. Despite the potential tensions between the two approaches, it appears that multilateral and bilateral/regional trade agreements will remain characteristics of the global economy. However, both the WTO and agreements such as NAFTA are controversial among groups such as alter-globalists, who argue that such agreements serve the interests of multinationals and not workers, while free trade was a proven method of improving economic performance and increasing overall income.

To counter this opposition, pressure has been exerted for labour and environmental standards to be included in these trade agreements. Labour standards contain provisions relating to the minimum wage and working conditions, while environmental standards would prevent trade if there were fears of environmental damage.