The creation of free trade areas is considered an exception to the most-favoured-nation principle in the WTO, since preferences granted exclusively by parties to a free trade agreement go beyond their accession obligations.  Although Article XXIV of the GATT allows WTO members to establish free trade agreements or to adopt the interim agreements necessary for their establishment, there are several conditions relating to free trade areas or interim agreements leading to the formation of free trade agreements. According to Article XXIV(8)(b) of the GATT, `a free trade area shall mean a group of two or more customs territories in which customs duties and other restrictive trade arrangements (with the exception of those permitted under Articles XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV and XX) are substantially eliminated in all trade between territories divided into products originating in those territories.`; In order to obtain preferential market access under this preferential trade regime, products must comply with the applicable rules of origin and receive proofs of origin demonstrating that they originate in a partner country of a free trade agreement or a country benefiting from the GSP. If the imported goods do not meet the original requirements, the benefit is denied and the goods must enter the import market on a non-preferential basis. Market access concessions and restrictions on market access differ considerably between trade in goods and trade in services. While market access for goods mainly includes border measures such as tariffs or quantitative restrictions, market access for services is more about the application of national rules behind the border. Moreover, in a world where regionalism is spreading, preferential market access for goods and services also has distinctive features of non-preferential market access within the multilateral trading system.  Like preferential market access in the area of trade in goods, preferential liberalization of trade in services is also an objective of free trade agreements. In fact, the further liberalization of trade in services, alongside trade in goods, has become an essential feature of the new generation of free trade agreements.  (In fact, the term “free trade area” was originally covered by the GATT in order to cover exclusively trade in goods.
An agreement with a similar objective, i.e. to promote the liberalization of trade in services, is referred to in Article V of the GATS as an “economic integration agreement”. In practice, however, the term is now often used to refer to agreements that include not only goods, but also services and even investments.) Preferential market access refers to the fact that market opening obligations go beyond WTO commitments, either because the exporting country of origin has concluded an agreement establishing a free trade area (FTA) with the importing country, or because the importing country has granted it special treatment because of the low level of development of the former and/or because of the adoption of certain sustainable development. The facilitator aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises increase their trade by taking advantage of global trade opportunities in the form of low tariffs under trade agreements. .