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Nafta (North American Free Trade Agreement)

Many workers and union leaders blame trade agreements such as NAFTA for declining employment in U.S. production. The U.S. auto sector has lost about 350,000 jobs – one-third of the industry – since 1994, while employment in Mexico`s auto sector has grown from 120,000 to 550,000. Agriculture, in particular, has seen a boost. Canada is the largest importer of U.S. agricultural products, and Canadian agricultural trade with the United States has more than tripled since 1994, as has Canada`s overall agricultural exports to NAFTA partners. The free trade agreement was concluded in 1988 and NAFTA extended most of the provisions of the free trade agreement to Mexico. NAFTA was negotiated by the governments of U.S. President George H.W.

Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican Prime Minister Carlos Salinas de Gortari. An interim agreement on the pact was reached in August 1992 and signed by the three heads of state and government on 17 December. NAFTA was ratified by the national parliaments of the three countries in 1993 and came into force on January 1, 1994. It is impossible to isolate the effects of NAFTA in the larger economy. For example, it is difficult to say with certainty what percentage of the current U.S. trade deficit, which reached a record $65,677 million at the end of 2005, is directly attributable to NAFTA. It is also difficult to say what percentage of the 3.3 million manufacturing jobs that were lost in the United States between 1998 and 2004 is the result of NAFTA and what percentage would have been created without this trade agreement. It cannot even be said with certainty that the intensification of trade between NAFTA countries is exclusively the result of the trade agreement. Those who support the agreement generally claim NAFTA loans for enhanced trade activity and reject the idea that the agreement has resulted in job losses or a growing trade deficit with Canada and Mexico ($8,039 million and $4,263 million respectively in December 2005).

Critics of the agreement generally associate it with these deficits and job losses. A study published in the August 2008 edition of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics found that NAFTA increased U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico and Canada, although most of the increase occurred a decade after its ratification. The study focused on the impact of phase-in periods in regional trade agreements, including NAFTA, on trade flows. Most of the increase in membership agricultural trade, recently entered into the World Trade Organization, is due to very high trade barriers prior to NAFTA or other regional trade agreements. [91] President Donald Trump courted a promise to end NAFTA and other trade agreements he considered unfair to the United States. On August 27, 2018, he announced a new trade agreement with Mexico, which is expected to replace it. The U.S.-Mexico trade agreement, as has been said, would maintain duty-free access for agricultural products on both sides of the border and eliminate non-tariff barriers, while encouraging more agricultural trade between Mexico and the United States and effectively replacing NAFTA.