NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)

North American Free Trade Agreement

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), accord establishing a free-trade zone in North America; it was signed in 1992 by Canada, Mexico, and the United States and took effect on Jan. 1, 1994. NAFTA immediately lifted tariffs on the majority of goods produced by the signatory nations. It also called for the gradual elimination of most remaining barriers to cross-border investment and to the movement of goods and services among the three countries; its provisions as a result were not fully in effect until Jan. 1, 2008. Major industries affected include agriculture, automobile and textile manufacture, telecommunications, financial services, energy, and trucking. NAFTA also provides for labor and environmental cooperation among member countries. The pact contains provisions for the inclusion of additional member nations.

Labor representatives have criticized NAFTA, claiming the agreement has led to numerous jobs lost in the United States because industries have moved plants to Mexico (see maquiladoras); NAFTA proponents point to the U.S. jobs created because of increased imports by Mexico and Canada. The agreement has negatively affected the economies of several Caribbean countries whose exports to the United States now compete with duty-free Mexican exports. The agreement was a significant issue in the U.S. elections of 1992, in which third-party presidential candidate and NAFTA opponent Ross Perot won 19% of the vote, and 2016, during and following which successful Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for its renegotiation or abandonment.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement): Selected full-text books and articles

NAFTA and the Maquiladoras: Boon or Bane? By Truett, Lila J.; Truett, Dale B Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol. 25, No. 3, July 2007
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
NAFTA's Mixed Record: The View from Mexico By Castañeda, Jorge G Foreign Affairs, Vol. 93, No. 1, January/February 2014
NAFTA's Unfinished Business: The View from Canada By Wilson, Michael Foreign Affairs, Vol. 93, No. 1, January/February 2014
North American Free Trade: Issues and Recommendations By Gary Clyde Hufbauer; Jeffrey J. Schott Institute for International Economics, 1992
NAFTA in Transition By Stephen J. Randall; Herman W. Konrad University of Calgary Press, 1995
Policy Choices: Free Trade among NAFTA Nations By Karen Roberts; Mark I. Wilson Michigan State University Press, 1996
The Children of NAFTA: Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border By David Bacon University of California Press, 2004
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