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North American Free Trade Agreement: NAFTA

This article supports a theory that explains the advantages and disadvantages of NAFTA. Nowadays it has become a topic of debate. In this article we will discuss about the effect of NAFTA on Businesses of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. What is NAFTA, What are the advantages of NAFTA and what are the disadvantages of NAFTA, these point mainly are discussed in the following essay. This has become a topic of debate since 1994, when this agreement came into existence.

NAFTA is The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that was signed on August 12, 1991 by the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It came into existence on January 1, 1994. After this agreement the three countries became the largest free market in the world. It is a trade union in North America which is created by the government of three countries United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Two supplements of NAFTA are:

  1. The North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC)
  2. The North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation (NAALC)

NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) play an important role in eliminating most tariffs between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. To remove tariff difficulty in agricultural, manufacturing, and services trade are the main goal of NAFTA.

U.S., Canada, and Mexico Businesses are affected by NAFTA. Some business analyst says that it has created a positive effect for business owners and some says it is not beneficial for U.S. businesses.


NAFTA eliminated all non- tariff barriers related with agriculture between the United States and Mexico. The world’s largest market was created by Mexico, the United States, and Canada. In 1993, the best foreign customers of Unites State were Canada and Mexico. Nearly two-third part of export was sent in Canada and Mexico. After the NAFTA agreement the Mexican market opens the door for many other U.S. firms like Pollution Control Exports. These firms were to raise their business into Mexico. After the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) U.S. export has been growth nearly two-thirds and it is expected that this growth will be continue. This growth will create strong trade flows within North America North America has become centre of the global trading system after this agreement. Approx 70 percent of Mexico’s imports fully originate in the United States. Mexican consumers have become dependent on U.S. goods. 15 percent of every dollar spent in Mexico goes to the United States. This reflects the importance of U.S. goods in Mexico. On the other hand 30 percent of every dollar spent in Canada goes to the United States. Without NAFTA the U.S. import and export both can not reach at this stage. It became possible only because of the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Under the NAFTA all tariffs which affect the agricultural trade between the United States and Canada were removed. The main advantage of the NAFTA agreement was the elimination of tariff for qualifying products. Tariff imbalance was removed by NAFTA between United State and Mexico. 50 percent of the tariffs were eliminated at the time when agreement came into existence and remaining was targeted for gradual elimination.

In 2008, Non-tariff barriers are eliminated. Border between Mexico and the United State has opened in 2008. Non-tariff barriers were the biggest obstacle for business activities between Mexico and the United State. Mexico, the United States, and Canada established some standards also. The main standards are:

  1. Health standards
  2. Safety standards
  3. Industrial standards

Labour and environmental issues are also handled by the NAFTA. Commissions are established for this purpose. Telecommunications trade also got expansion after NAFTA. This agreement played an important role in reducing tariff for motor vehicles, auto parts and automobile. It eliminated textile and apparel barriers. Jobs in financial services increased after this agreement. Insurance market has also taken place after the NAFTA. Investment opportunities and protection for intellectual property rights increased after this agreement. These rights are first time fixed by the NAFTA. Rights of American firms are expanded. According to the NAFTA agreement the goods imported from other NAFTA countries into a NAFTA country will receive the status of “national goods” and local governments can not impose taxes or tariffs on those goods. This thing has become very beneficial for the U.S. Businesses. Mexican markets for United State business were not opened before this agreement. Because of this production became possible at lower rate for American firms. The Mexican market is growing rapidly and this will be beneficial for the United State. More export opportunities will be grown and these opportunities will produce more jobs. Costumers are taking the advantage of lowered trade barriers. They can purchase a good at lower price. Mexican consumers use U.S. products more than their own products. In 2006 U.S. Exports to Canada and Mexico was 364.4 billion USD and it is increasing with time. (“National Trade Data U.S. Department of Commerce”).


Because of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) many U.S. workers have lost their jobs in manufacturing and assembly industries. Inequality in the U.S. has been raised by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). According to some analyst NAFTA is not sufficient to produce an economic union and it is not enough to reduce poverty rates (Floudas, 2000, p. 371). The main disadvantage of NAFTA for U.S. Businesses is that after this agreement trade barriers are abolished, that’s why the U.S. firms are trying to take advantage of cheap labour. It is closing the door for the U.S. labours to work in the U.S. firms. United state firms providing job to the Mexican labours because of low cost. That’s why many workers of United State firm have lost their jobs.

This has become the topic of worry for strong among labour unions and other worker organizations. Oppositionist also says that anti-pollution policies of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are not adequate.

Complexity of the international trading system is also increased by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Transaction costs for business are increased after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The NAFTA agreement was more than one thousand pages long. That’s why more than two dozen committees and working groups had to be established.

These are the main advantages and disadvantages of North American Free Trade Agreement. Every thing has two aspects good and bad. On the basis of the above arguments we can say that the North American Free Trade Agreement has more advantages than disadvantages.

Works Cited

  1. Amadeo, Kimberly. “Disadvantages of NAFTA.” About.com. ‎2008. Web.
  2. Arabe, Katrina C. “The Pros and Cons of NAFTA.” Industrial Market Trends. 2004. Web.
  3. Camillo, Jay L. “Mexico: NAFTA opens door to U.S. business – North American Free Trade Agreement.” Government Industry. 1994. Web.
  4. Malaga, Jaime and Lyford, Conrad. “Trade Agreements and U.S. Agribusiness: Lessons from Mexican Retailing after NAFTA.” 2008. Web.
  5. Scott, Robert E., Salas, Carlos, and Campbell, Bruce. “Revisiting NAFTA- Still not working for North America’s workers” The Economic Policy Institute. 2006. Web.
  6. “The Effects of NAFTA on U.S.-Mexican Trade and GDP.” Congressional Budget Office. 2003.