First, the customs duties and other rules which are maintained in each of the signatory parties to a free trade area and which are applicable at the time of the establishment of such a free trade area shall not be higher or more restrictive for trade with non-parties to such a free trade area than customs duties and other rules which existed in the same signatory parties before the establishment of the free trade area. In other words, the creation of a free trade area for preferential treatment among its members is legitimate under WTO law, but parties to a free trade area should not treat non-parties less favourably than before the establishment of the area. A second requirement of Article XXIV is that tariffs and other barriers to trade must essentially eliminate all trade within the free trade area.  Given that hundreds of free trade areas are currently in force and under negotiation (around 800 under the ITC Rules of Origin Facilitator, including non-reciprocal trade agreements), it is important for businesses and policymakers to keep an eye on their status. There are a number of free trade agreement custodians available either at the national, regional or international level. Some important elements are the database on Latin American free trade agreements, the asian regional integration centre (ARIC) database, the asian countries` information agreements and the European Union`s portal on free trade negotiations and agreements.  A free trade area is a region where a group of countries has signed a free trade agreement and has few or no barriers to trade in the form of tariffs or quotas.