A Regional Trade Agreement (RTA) is an example of an EPA. In the United States, some industries, such as automakers and electronics, prefer RTAs because such agreements allow these industries to take advantage of low manufacturing costs in other countries in the hemisphere while avoiding the competition from European and Japanese manufacturers that they would face under a multilateral agreement.  Another controversy surrounding APTs is their apparent contradiction with the principles of the World Trade Organization. The WTO is governed in part by a „most-favoured-nation“ mentality, which states that no one should be given preferential treatment in international trade and that tariffs should be the same for everyone. However, despite this principle, APAs are permitted under the exception in Article XXIV of the WTO Charter.  Each free trade agreement is negotiated and agreed separately by the participating countries. A country can be a member of several free trade agreements. Preferential rules of origin are applied to prevent third countries from benefiting from preferential customs duties under a free trade agreement without offering mutual benefits. International Trade Administration (ITA): www.trade.gov/free-trade-agreements-help-center preferential trade agreements, or APTs, are formal trade agreements between countries that benefit from trade between them. In many cases, these benefits are the product of proximity; Countries that are close to each other are better able to trade because of both lower transport costs and greater opportunities for transparency. When trade agreements are created in this regional way, they are sometimes referred to as regional trade agreements or RTAs. There is a lot of debate about whether APTs increase or redirect trade. The basic principles underlying these two arguments are that, while APTs can promote trade that would not otherwise exist, they also have the potential to capture trade that would otherwise take place with members outside the PTA and away from the least expensive producer.
Ideally, the creation of trade should take precedence over the diversion of trade.  With the recent proliferation of bilateral TFA and the emergence of mega-APTs (far-reaching regional trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) or the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)), a global trading system managed exclusively within the framework of the WTO now seems unrealistic and interactions between trading systems must be taken into account. The increasing complexity of the international trading system resulting from the proliferation of PTAs should be taken into account when considering the choice of forums used by countries or regions to promote their trade relations and environmental agenda.  TPAs have grown rapidly; In the 1990s, there were just over 100 APTs. In 2014, there were more than 700.  Since the beginning of the 20th century, several hundred bilateral APAs have been signed. The TREND project of the Canada Research Chair in International Political Economy lists approximately 700 trade agreements, the vast majority of which are bilateral.  All of the above agreements are indeed free trade agreements, but for various reasons, members prefer to refer to them by a different name. In many cases, these names reflect the broader scope of agreements: many recent free trade agreements go beyond the scope of traditional trade agreements and cover areas such as government procurement, competition, intellectual property, sustainable development, labour and the environment, etc. The World Trade Organization refers to unilateral trade agreements as preferential trade agreements and mutual trade agreements as regional trade agreements.
According to CBO, the consensus among economic studies is that APTs have had a relatively small positive impact on overall U.S. trade (exports plus imports) and, particularly through this channel, on the U.S. economy. The impact was small because the agreements were concluded mainly between the United States and countries with much smaller economies, and because tariffs and other barriers to trade were generally low when the agreements entered into force (see table below). The TPAs had little impact on the U.S. trade balance (exports minus imports) and slightly increased foreign direct investment flows, mainly by encouraging additional U.S. investment in member countries` economies. As a result, the indirect impact of APTs on productivity, output, and employment in the United States has also been small and positive.
Empirical estimates support this view. However, these estimates are uncertain and may be an understatement because the impact of non-tariff regulations is difficult to measure and because data problems discourage researchers from determining how TPAs affect the services sector. CBP website www.cbp.gov/trade/priority-issues/trade-agreements A free trade agreement (FTA) is a ratified agreement between two or more (bilateral) or more (multilateral) countries that defines the international trade practices agreed between the parties. The details and scope of the different free trade agreements vary; However, they define the obligations of all parties, including trade in goods and services, market access, intellectual property rights, the environment and other non-trade barriers. In most cases, free trade agreements eliminate tariffs and tariffs levied on imports and exports. Second, the term „preferential trade agreements“ can be used to refer to partial scopes. These agreements provide preferential market access by reducing import duties on a limited quantity of goods. The United States enters into preferential trade agreements for economic and non-economic reasons.
These agreements allow the United States and its partner countries to reap the economic benefits of increased trade and investment. In addition, agreements sometimes harmonize laws and regulations, which, among other things, leads to the cost of operating stores in other countries becoming more similar to those in the United States. An important non-economic reason for establishing APTs is the achievement of foreign policy objectives. .