The starting point of this survey is the two chapters on trade agreements in the previous volume of the International Economics Manual (1995), robert Staiger`s chapter on international trade policy rules and institutions and Richard Baldwin and Anthony Venables» «Regional Economic Integration.» I will focus, in most cases, on the progress of the literature on trade agreements after 1995; I refer the reader to the previous volume of this textbook before 1995. The guides are aimed in particular at small and medium-sized exporters and tell you what each agreement produces without having to read the detailed technical language of the full text. Despite the potential tensions between the two approaches, it appears that multilateral and bilateral/regional trade agreements will remain characteristics of the global economy. However, both the WTO and agreements such as NAFTA are controversial among groups such as alter-globalists, who argue that such agreements serve the interests of multinationals and not workers, while free trade was a proven method of improving economic performance and increasing overall income. To counter this opposition, pressure has been exerted for labour and environmental standards to be included in these trade agreements. Labour standards contain provisions relating to the minimum wage and working conditions, while environmental standards would prevent trade if there were fears of environmental damage. There are a large number of trade agreements; some are quite complex (the European Union), while others are less intense (North American free trade agreement).  The resulting degree of economic integration depends on the specific type of trade pacts and policies adopted by the trade bloc: one difficulty with the WTO system has been the problem of maintaining and expanding the liberal trading system in recent years. Multilateral negotiations on trade liberalization are progressing very slowly and the need for consensus among the many WTO members limits the scope of trade reform agreements.