APEC is examining the prospects and options for a free trade area in the Asia-Pacific region (FTAAP), which would include all APEC member countries. Since 2006, the APEC Business Advisory Council, which advocates the theory that a free trade area has the best chance of converging Member States and ensuring stable economic growth within the framework of free trade, has committed to creating a high-level task force to study and develop a free trade area plan. The proposed free trade agreement was born out of a lack of progress in the World Trade Organization negotiations in Doha and a way to overcome the spaghetti bowl effect created by divergent and contradictory elements of the umpteenth free trade agreements. There are approximately 60 free trade agreements and another 117 are located in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. Compared to the total GDP of its members, the trading bloc is the largest in the world since 2010. NAFTA has two complements: the North American Environmental Cooperation Agreement (NAAEC) and the North American Worker Cooperation Agreement (NAALC). The goal of NAFTA was to remove trade and investment barriers between the United States, Canada and Mexico. A free trade agreement is an agreement between two or more countries in which countries agree on certain obligations that affect trade in goods and services as well as the protection of investors 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. A common market is a first step towards a single market and can be limited initially to a free trade area with relatively free trade in capital and services, but cannot be so advanced in reducing other trade barriers. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on January 1, 1989, when it came into force, was between the United States, Canada and Mexico that agreement was to remove customs barriers between the various countries. All agreements concluded outside the WTO framework (which provide additional benefits beyond the WTO level, but which apply only between signatories and not other WTO members) are considered to be preferred by the WTO. Under WTO rules, these agreements are subject to certain requirements, such as WTO notification and general reciprocity (preferences should apply equally to each signatory to the agreement), where unilateral preferences (some of the signatories enjoy preferential market access to the other signatories without reducing their tariffs) are allowed only in exceptional circumstances and as a temporary measure.  A trade agreement signed between more than two parties (usually neighbouring or in the same region) is considered multilateral.