Their common market, which now has more than 600 million people, would connect three existing trading areas in southern and eastern Africa to a combined gross domestic product of $1.2 trillion. The world`s first documented free trade area was founded in 166 BC. J.-C. on the Greek island of Delos. It took about 69 BC. J.-C. when the island was invaded by pirates. The Romans had many civitas libera or free cities, some of which shaped money, would establish their own laws, and could not pay an annual tribute to the Roman emperor. These continued at least until the first millennium AD. In the 12th century, the Hansa began operating in northern Europe and founded trading colonies throughout Europe.
Among these free trade zones were Hamburg and The Steelyard in London. The Steelyard, like other Hansa stations, was a separate and fortified commune with its own warehouses, cradle, chapels, counting houses and residential areas. In 1988, the remains of the former Hanseatic trading house, once the largest medieval trading complex in the UK, were discovered by archaeologists during maintenance work at Cannon Street station. Shannon, Ireland (Shannon Free Zone), founded in 1959, claimed to be the first ”modern” free trade area. The Shannon zone was launched to help the city`s airport adapt to a radical change in aircraft technology that allowed aircraft with greater range to skip the necessary refueling stops at Shannon. This was an attempt by the Irish government to maintain employment around the airport so that the airport would continue to generate revenue for the Irish economy. It was very successful and is still in service today. Other free zones are the Kandla Free Zone in India, which began around 1960, and the Kaohsiung Export Processing Zone in Taiwan, which began in 1967.
The number of free trade areas in the world became severely bogged down at the end of the twentieth century. A free trade area (FTT) is a category of special economic zones It is a geographical area in which goods can be imputed, stored, handled, manufactured or redeveloped and re-exported and are generally not subject to customs duties. Free trade areas are usually organized around major seaports, international airports and national borders – areas with many geographical advantages for trade.  Bilateral free trade agreements currently in force between the Member States of the CONVENTION shall be applied only to the extent that their provisions are compatible with the provisions of this Agreement. . . .