Readers of this book are conscious of a trend toward increasing internationalization the of economic life as imported goods flood national markets and foreign corporations become more noticeable. People involved in business have also become aware of the growing importance of international economic organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which have been created to coordinate the global economy. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which came into being in 1994 has achieved considerable notoriety throughout the three-country region that bears its name in just a few years.
This book tells the story of how the ongoing economic integration of Canada, the US and Mexico in the post-World War II era led these countries, in recent years, to negotiate formal treaties -- first the Canadian-United States Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA) and subsequently the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) -- that today provide a framework for facilitating and managing the expanding trade and investment flows that virtually gush over their borders.
The main actors in our story are: the US, a technologically advanced, prosperous and economically diversified country with a large population; Canada, a prosperous, resource- and technology-based country with a small population; and Mexico, a developing country with a medium-sized but rapidly growing population. Together these countries comprise about 7 percent (370 million) of the world's population (approximately 5.5 billion). The setting for our story is the global economy of the post-World War II period ( 1945-present) which was characterized by: rising prosperity for many nations, persistent poverty for others; rapidly expanding international trade and investment flows; explosive population growth; and a deteriorating global environment.