Sometimes consumers are better off, producers are less well off, consumers are less well off and producers are better off, but the imposition of trade restrictions results in a net loss to society, because losses due to trade restrictions are greater than the profits generated by trade restrictions. Free trade creates winners and losers, but the theory and empirical evidence shows that free trade gains are greater than losses.  Many economists are in favour of free trade. However, in some circumstances, there are arguments for trade restrictions. This means that developing countries need to develop young industries and develop their economies. Free trade is a trade policy that does not limit imports or exports. It can also be understood as the idea of a free market applied to international trade. Within the government, free trade is mainly supported by political parties with liberal economic positions, while left-wing and nationalist political parties generally support protectionism the opposite of free trade. Many supporters of economic nationalism and the school of mercantilism have long presented free trade as a form of colonialism or imperialism.
In the 19th century, such groups criticized British demands for free trade as cover for the British Empire, particularly in the works of the American Henry Clay, architect of the American system and the German-American economist Friedrich List (1789-1846).  According to economic historian Douglas Irwin, a common myth about U.S. trade policy is that low tariffs harmed American producers in the early 19th century, and that high tariffs made the United States a major industrial power in the late 19th century.  A review of the Economist of Irwin`s 2017 book Clashing over Commerce: A History of US Trade Policy notes: According to the dominant economic theory, the selective application of free trade agreements to some countries and tariffs on others can lead to economic inefficiency due to the process of trade reorientation. It is effective for a good to be produced by the country, which is the most profitable producer, but that is not always the case when a producer has a free trade agreement at great expense, while the low-priced producer is priced at a high price. The application of free trade to the producer at high costs and not to a low-priced producer can lead to a reorientation of trade and a net economic loss. That is why many economists place as much importance on negotiations on global tariff reductions as the Doha Round.  It should also be stressed that a free trade agreement is a reciprocal agreement that is authorized by Article XXIV of the GATT. Autonomous trade agreements for developing and least developed countries are permitted by the 1979 decision by the signatories of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) (“empowerment clause”) on differentiated and more favourable treatment, reciprocity and increased participation of developing countries. It forms the legal basis for the WTO`s Generalized Preference System (GSP).  Free trade agreements and preferential trade agreements (as mentioned by the WTO) are considered an exception to the MFN principle.
 The creation of free trade zones is seen as an exception to the nation`s most privileged principle (MFN) in the World Trade Organization (WTO), as the preferences that parties to a free trade area agree to each other go beyond their membership obligations.  Although GATT Article XXIV authorizes WTO members to establish free trade zones or to conclude interim agreements necessary for their establishment, there are several conditions relating to free trade zones or interim agreements leading to the creation of free trade zones.