The North American Free Trade
This chapter explores whether policy reforms and their implementation in the “new” regulatory areas of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) serve to support or impede the multilateral process. In other words, do NAFTA's provisions in the “new” regulatory areas go beyond those of the World Trade Organization (are they WTOplus or not) and, if so, how and to what extent? The chapter endeavours to reach a determination on this point and to assess some of the broader implications of NAFTA for regulatory approaches at the multilateral level.
NAFTA is a good case to study for several reasons. In the first place it is a powerful new regional trade agreement (RTA) with the United States at its centre. It is therefore capable of developing regulatory systems of its own that could genuinely threaten the principles promoted at the multilateral level. Secondly, it links a developing country (Mexico) with two highly developed economies (the United States and Canada) within a single RTA. This poses a significant challenge to the regulatory systems of all the parties involved and could provide some valuable insights into whether developing and developed countries can coexist within a single multilateral arrangement, and, if so, how. Thirdly, NAFTA as an agreement, together with its two side agreements on