The first discussions on trade facilitation began in the mid-1990s. In 1996, the Singapore Ministerial Conference gave the WTO its original directive, but under a different conceptual title.  The language used in the letter reflected a possible compromise between those who wished to renegotiate the terms of an agreement and those, particularly those in developing and least developed countries, who had doubts about the success of new negotiations and preferred a much tighter/limited agenda. Many of the doubts about a new multilateral trade agreement in the future related to the fact that they did not have the capacity to meet additional commitments, particularly for developing and least developed countries. All developed countries supported the trade facilitation agreement there, as well as a number of developing countries such as Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Republic of Korea, Paraguay and Singapore.  However, it remained difficult to convince affiliated nations to agree on multilateral negotiations. However, there was no opposition to the work and development of the Trade Facilitation Act. The law promised to reduce customs barriers and non-tariff issues. However, most developing and least developed countries have instead advocated an approach that encourages compliance with these guidelines against the mandate of disciplines. Trade agreements designated by the WTO as preferential agreements are also referred to as regional agreements (RTAs), although they are not necessarily concluded by countries within a given region. Currently, 205 agreements are in effect as of July 2007.
More than 300 people have been notified to the WTO.  The number of free trade agreements has increased significantly over the past decade. Between 1948 and 1994, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), predecessor to the WTO, received 124 notifications. Since 1995, more than 300 trade agreements have been concluded.  1) The successful implementation of the WTO trade liberalization policy has resulted in a significant reduction in tariff and non-tariff barriers, as is the case for developed countries (the average rate of 4.5% to 6.5%, the share of HS duty-free sub-positions in tariffs from 29.2% to 53%). This has reduced customs revenue functions and, consequently, the ability to simplify customs procedures with a moderate risk to domestic revenues, which has opened up to a considerable number of States. In 2007, WTO member states accounted for 96.4% of world trade and 96.7% of world GDP.  Iran, followed by Algeria, have the highest GDP and trade as the largest outside the WTO, with 2005 data used.   With the exception of the Holy See, observers must begin accession negotiations within five years of becoming observers.