The use of certain trade agreements to reduce customs payments requires compliance with all complex rules. Companies must comply with them or risk fines and penalties. Companies must qualify their products and submit certificates of origin that regularly deal with complex lists of parts or lists of parts against the rules of origin of the trade agreements in question, whether it is a free trade agreement, a few or dozens. The time required can paralyze an exporter before trying to understand the potential profits. Free trade policy has not been as popular with the general public. Key issues include unfair competition from countries where lower labour costs are reducing prices and the loss of well-paying jobs for producers abroad. The trade agreement database provided by THE ITC Market Access Card. 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.
In fact, the American economist Milton Friedman said: «The economic profession was almost unanimous on the question of the desire for free trade.» The creation of free trade zones is seen as an exception to the most privileged principle of the World Trade Organization (WTO), since the preferences of the parties to the exclusive granting of a free trade area go beyond their accession obligations.  Although GATT Article XXIV authorizes WTO members to establish free trade zones or to conclude interim agreements necessary for their establishment, there are several conditions relating to free trade zones or interim agreements leading to the creation of free trade zones. A better solution than protectionism is to include rules in trade agreements that protect against inconvenience. This view became popular for the first time in 1817 by the economist David Ricardo in his book On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. He argued that free trade broadens diversity and reduces the prices of goods available in a nation, while making a better part of its own resources, knowledge and specialized skills. Both types of trading blocs have internal agreements that the parties enter into to liberalize and facilitate trade between them. The key difference between unions and free trade zones is their approach to third parties [lack of ambiguity needed]. While a customs union requires all parties to apply and maintain identical external tariffs on trade with non-parties, parties to a free trade area are not subject to such a requirement. Instead, they can set and maintain any customs regime for imports from non-parties, as they see as necessary.
 In a free trade area without harmonized external tariffs, the parties will adopt a system of preferential rules of origin to eliminate the risk of trade diversion [necessary ambiguities].  Free trade agreements resemble preferential trade agreements (EPZs) with one exception: while PTA tariffs fall, free trade agreements often eliminate tariffs altogether.