The recent trend towards the negotiation of free trade areas has potentially important implications for agriculture. Agricultural trade will increasingly be influenced by the treatment of agriculture within free-trade areas and other regional trade associations. Such blocs will have to deal internally with many of the same issues as face the GATT. This will tend to reinforce the move to less trade-disruptive domestic policies. Moreover, independent trade policies become difficult to maintain in a trade bloc, even if there is no common external tariff. This could lead to harmonisation of external policies. As a consequence, the inclusion of agriculture in free-trade areas could be an important part of overall trade liberalisation in years to come.