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Past, Present, and Future of Nafta

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The word Trade defines the trafficking of materials and resources. When two countries interchange its products and resources, then it is termed as Trade. Sending products to other nations is called Export, while buying goods from other countries is called Import. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been the world’s first biggest free trade agreement, which was started on 1 January 1994, after got signed in 1989. The purpose behind NAFTA was to abolish the trade hindrances between three major countries Mexico, Canada and America, making them the biggest free market in the world, with the economy of six trillion dollars. Being the biggest free trade agreement, NAFTA banished tariffs, enhanced the chances of investments, which was beneficial for Mexico, Canada and The United States.

NAFTA generated job opportunities in these countries, by providing more and more options for employment. Moreover, NAFTA was also responsible for raising the sales and lowering down the prices of goods and services, which were the biggest advantages of negotiating this free trade. On the other hand, there were many fluctuations during this period, jobs were lost in many areas, free United States approach to the Mexican cars and trucks, conflicts between the nations and invalid immigrants from South Mexico to The United States, resulted in some of the major disadvantages caused by NAFTA. To overcome these grave issues, present American President Donald J. Trump, decided to replace NAFTA with United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The previous agreements and expectations, the current situations and future anticipations related to NAFTA will be discussed in this paper.


Earlier, there were assumptions that Bill Clinton (42nd American President) has created NAFTA, which were simply speculations. In 1992, 43rd American President, George Walker Bush signed NAFTA, which was not approved by congress, until 1993. After 1993, George Walker Bush, Carlos Salinas De Gortari (Former Mexican President) and Brian Mulroney (Former Canadian Prime Minister), started NAFTA. NAFTA was officially instigated in Toronto, in the first Trilateral Ministerial Oversight meeting. The aim for NAFTA was to enhance lifestyle quality and to assist more than trillions of jobs related to trade and built one economic, social bound group between these three nations. Earlier, the most benefited country was America, as it got the new agricultural market export, which also triad the Canadian agriculture market and the Mexican agricultural market was increased by fourfold. Moreover, NAFTA being the greatest free trade market, held more than twenty five Gross Domestic Product of the entire world.

During that year, American Federal judge demanded for the analysis of environmental effects caused by NAFTA, which were secretly accepted by America and Mexico, but Canada was not convinced to approve that evaluation. Finally, Ministerial meeting in Ottawa signed an agreement related to Labour and Environmental Cooperation, which was passed by the American House and the Canadian upper house, Senate (Cameron A. M. , Tomlin B. W. 2000). At the same time, Trade between Mexico and America caused a Trade Surplus for America of approximately five billion dollars. Additionally, NAFTA eliminated approximately fifty percent tariffs with Mexico.

The consumer prices were diminished, followed by decreased foreign oil dependency. America had big savings over automotives, electronics, food and clothing, which was a great benefit. There were many hopes and fears related to NAFTA, Mexico was expecting to be counted as one of the top countries in the world, whereas, America wanted to prohibit the unofficial migration from Mexico, while, Canada assumed that America will stop putting up duties over softwood lumber, unfortunately, these hopes were barely just assumptions that never came true. Following the same, all three nations doing free trade were alarmed about a couple of issues related to unemployment, compromising labour and environmental standards, and decline in firms owned by U. S. , again, none of these predictions were true.

Job loss took place in America after year 2002, due to decreased business growth fare, and many other factors related to productivity. During the mid years, NAFTA focused to break up business and its speculations, which was successful, and caused a big effect on Mexico due to decreased sales and profits, while America had the least impact due to its low economy, whilst, Canada also had a compact as with America, Canada was already trading under Canada-US Free Trade Agreement, which was applied in 1988 and had minimum trade with Mexico, leaving Canada completely unaffected. Additionally, from year 1994-2001, NAFTA enhanced the commerce between these nations and raised employment opportunities in America, which started declining by the following years.

In 2016, Canada ranked the top country for American exports, followed by Mexico, and stood for thirty four percent of total American exports, worldwide. Similarly, imports were maximum for Canada, followed by Mexico, hence, stood for twenty six percent of American imports. There had been enormous alterations in the previous fifteen years, the population of these nations did not completely supported NAFTA, only eighty percent of the Mexican population in the initial years which fell to twenty five percent by 1995, when the amount of Canadian communities supporting NAFTA, were gradually decreasing over the years, though Canadian economy steeped up during that time.

On the other hand, Americans were quite uneasy for NAFTA, defenders were almost doubled between 1991 to 1996, then declined gradually as the time went by. Furthermore, during the year 2001, Mexico and Canada were circumspect about the adjacent state would not accept returns in description and may not take charge for the economic strategies, which forced both nations to do another trade agreements with other countries, Mexico started fourteen free trade agreements with the European Union, and Japan. Besides, Canada commenced thirteen new agreements, followed by America, which negotiated twelve free trade agreements with few minor nations.

As a result, the American Former Deputy Prime Minister, John Manley, decided to give attention to the market multifariousness policies, causing diminished cross regional businesses, and raised North American trades. One of the major concerns about NAFTA, have been the failure in building good relationships between these nations. Although NAFTA created the organization, just after 9/11 terrorist attacks, neither Mexican President nor the Canadian Prime Minister came to console and join the American President George Walker Bush to declare that the attack has affected all three nations equally, which would be answered soon. Afterall, 9/11 raised in terror in the entire nation and caused a big loss in business positions, which was next to impossible for America to step out and do the reimbursement, all alone.

Current Position

The most progressive country among NAFTA nations is Mexico, it has benefited on a large scale in terms of imports and jobs, so far, whereas, America witnessed unemployment in manufacturing, which have accelerated with the passage of time. The job opportunities have increased in Mexico as compared to the other countries. Moreover, Mexico has enhanced its exports with other North American countries, which increased its sales and profits. In 2016, American president, Donald J. Trump decided to replace and renegotiate NAFTA with United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), which was signed by all three nations in November 2018 in G20 Summit, Argentina.

NAFTA has been an argument in America, from a long time, and widely hated by Americans due to declining employment rates, as a result President Donald J. Trump titled it the worst trade deal in American history. In 2018, Mexico and Canada decided to accept the replacement of NAFTA and signed USMCA, creating another commerce deal between these nations. The manifestation and tasks of USMCA includes encouraging upright business, keeping cognitive goods and services, and enhance American economy.

It is one of the biggest commerce in American history presiding over $1. 2 trillion in business. USMCA mainly used in subnormal businesses, agriculture, engineering, embarking Canadian dairy market and mainly for updating NAFTA. It minimized prices and removed threats between subnormal frontier trades. Moreover, to confirm the interests from diminished documentation and other obligations, De Minimis agreement (minimal value of a product to payload to other nation) has been redrafted and enhanced shielding for intellectual goods and technology to increase the standards for commerce probity and raise environmental qualities.

The requirement of raising Engineering standards are encouraged by manufacturing and selling seventy five percent automobile products in North America, so that automobiles can be tax free, and America can enhance its productivity. Besides, the labour manufacturing almost forty three percent of the automobiles should earn almost sixteen dollars hourly, so that the salary budget can raise the workers performances, and can also wipe away the unemployment rates (Daniels Trading, May 2019). In addition, both America and Canada can easily approach to each other’s dairy market without putting up any tariffs. Earlier during NAFTA period, Canada had restricted cheese, milk and supplementary dairy products imports from America, but through USMCA, Canada can fix shares with America.

As a response, America may permit Canada to export dairy products, peanut products and sugars, which will enhance profits for Canada, this agreement is set by the representative of US Trade based on a specific document related to the agreement. Although there are many conflicts in Canadian and American population related to this agreement, assuming that dairy products agreement can be a major threat for the dairy byproducts from Canada, Canada has accepted to remove the process of charging low costs over certain milk byproducts, which is beneficial for America, as it allows the importing of American byproducts in Canada. Furthermore, there are many controversies which needs to be resolved related to the payback tariffs and American taxes over Aluminium and Steel imports from Mexico and Canada, the Senior administration officials are demanding distinct agreement over this issue. Since NAFTA, Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) has been a firm of United States multilateral speculations agreement, now restricts USMCA from some specific sections like natural gases, energy production, substructure, wireless communication, and shipping, lying between America and Mexico.

There are assumptions that the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) will continue in action for a few years even after the dismissal. Another big achievement for USMCA is a five years clause, “Sunset Clause”, started by The United States, which has the power to dismiss the agreement in case of any kinds of conflicts between these three nations. Though a large amount of investment in this sector related to production is abiding, yet this clause is not supported by Canada and Mexico, as it creates risks in every five years which may affect trading. Moreover, this clause affects Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) between all three nations, especially Mexico, making it intense and causing inaccessibility of market of the other nations (Wilber P. C. , May 2019). Above all, if American President wants to renegotiate an agreement, then there are some American laws which should be followed under Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), used by congress to start business with the nations.

TPA asks president to seek advice from the authority and to inform prior to ninety days embarking the deliberation, with proper discussion, along with the bill execution and supply all the requirements to the party . Following the same, NAFTA can be evacuated only after the President provides an officially signed written announcement to the related authorities of NAFTA Article 2205. The matter of following the tariffs rates is notified by Section 125 of the Trade Act 1974, integrated by mentioning the NAFTA implementation Act. Communities from these nations are supporting USMCA, hoping that it will cover all the downsides of NAFTA.


To some extent, in the updated NAFTA, the President Donald J. Trump desires to stop the shortfalls related to trade and to repeal chapter 9 of NAFTA (the measures related to standards), which will allow the changes in disputes only in the courts of America. Moreover, President wish to force a Sunset Clause for five years on NAFTA, alter the regulations of the origin, manufacture the parts of motorized vehicles in America, stop the management of supplementation, change the procedures of the authorities and combine Mexico and Canada over a dollar, as a renegotiation of NAFTA (Tucker R. , August 2018).

There are few predictions related to American deals with Canada, Canada will continue the free trade agreement with Mexico even after the renegotiation of NAFTA which may provoke President Donald J. Trump to make a deal with Canada, if the President fails to make any deal then tariffs on the Canadian Cars may rise, which will possibly be a big loss for Canada. Furthermore, American President Donald J. Trump will renegotiate NAFTA, forming USMCA, but it would be difficult to terminate NAFTA, the article under 2205 NAFTA does not allow the President to terminate the agreement, rather, The North America can withdraw the agreement over a notice of six months. Which will leave NAFTA to be applied on the affiliated nations. On the other hand, by losing the free trade agreement, America may put a big risk over its economy.

The advantage of NAFTA evacuation would be resuming of The Canada-U. S. Free-Trade Agreement (FTA), which was temporarily terminated due to NAFTA. FTA has been a big win for both countries. There will be some changes related to the Canadian exports, making them easy to accept the American protection moves over the contagious imports, hence leaving a mainstream for the President organizations. In addition, FTA will stop the Binational Dispute Settlement Mechanism (BDSM), formed by NAFTA, which will affect the subsidy disputes. Moreover, there are many critics over the formation of USMCA, Canadian farmers assert it as a big risk for Canadian dairy products, it may cause an increase in costs of the products. Whereas, many communities appreciate USMCA as it may balance the North American businesses and enhance achievements of minor business engineers. The interim elections proved that the signing of USMCA by year 2020 will be beyond the bounds of possibility,until the deal gets clarified, NAFTA will remain in force as a legal doctrine for North America.


NAFTA transformed the economic growth of these countries, by raising the production levels and transforming the logistic networks. The advocates claim that NAFTA has been a positive change for the NAFTA nations by promoting profits, decreasing tariffs, enhancing job opportunities and balancing market shares, NAFTA has modified the overall situations of Mexico, Canada and The United States. Although The United States has gone through many fluctuations in recent years, from unemployment to decreased wages and unregistered immigrants, The United States will be forming another free trade USMCA with the NAFTA nations along with some required updates, to manage the overall economy and increase profits in trade. Keeping aside the fears and hopes, upsides and downsides, NAFTA has been a great deal for all the bounded nations. NAFTA was written for a purpose, which has been achieved in all sectors, declaring it a successful agreement.

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