On December 17, 1992, Canada, Mexico, and the USA signed an agreement known as NAFTA.
NAFTA stands for North American free trade Agreement. The representatives from each nation
included George H.W. Bush (USA), Carlos Salinas (Mexico), and Brian Mulroney (Canada). Since
NAFTA had to be approved by each nation's parliamentary or legislative branch it didn't become law
until U.S. President Bill Clinton was in office (the law was approved on December 8, 1993).
An explanation of NAFTA includes: The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a
comprehensive agreement that sets the rules for international trade and investment between Canada, the
United States, and Mexico. The Agreement is a complex and lengthy document that includes eight
sections, 22 chapters, and some 2,000 pages (naftanow.org). Some topics discussed in the NAFTA are:
Market Access for Goods, Protection for Foreign Investment, Protection for Intellectual Property,
Easier Access for Business Travelers, and Access to Government Procurement (naftanow.org).
One effects of NAFTA is the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation
(NAAEC) which is an agreement between these countries to protect the environment while effectively
trading. Another is the North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation (NAALC) which was
created to increase the labor standards in all countries involved and promote innovation and
NAFTA has a huge effect on the governments involved: From a U.S. export market
perspective, NAFTA has indeed delivered the goods. Specifically, U.S. goods exported to Canada and
Mexico have more than doubled between 1993 and 2007 - from $141.9 billion to nearly $385 billion.
NAFTA accounts for fully a third (33%) of the U.S. trade total (Selko 38). It greatly effects each
countries economy and each government is intertwined. Presidential candidates must state their views
on NAFTA to win votes and become elected: Democrat contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama
have both pledged if elected president they would threaten to pull out of the trade agreement to force
Mexico and Canada to renegotiate the accord, and add new labour and environmental protections
(Drajem A13). This has proved to be a major deciding factor for some: NAFTA has become a
centerpiece of the Democratic primary in Ohio, which has lost almost 250,000 factory jobs since the
accord took effect in 1994. Fifty-nine per cent of Democratic voters in the state disapprove of the
agreement, compared with 13% who support it, according to a poll conducted Feb. 27-29 for the
Cleveland Plain Dealer (Drajem A13).
There are alternatives to NAFTA. Firstly, all agreements could be re-negotiated and reorganized
into a new trade bloc. Another is quitting NAFTA membership and accepting tariffs. This could lead to
more people Buying American which might benefit our economy. We have the option of going back
to life before NAFTA which would include regressing to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Also, we
could embrace the proposal of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). This idea was highly
opposed by several South American countries (and it would need their consent to come into effect).One conflict between NAFTA and another trade bloc is: Chiles free trade agreement
with MERCOSUR complicates its ability to negotiate NAFTA accession. Pursuant to Article 52 of the
Chile-MERCOSUR Agreement, any signatory state that offers a lower tariff concession to a third party
must extend it to the other signatory states. This is the classic "most favored nation" status rule. If not,
the party offering the concession to third parties must negotiate some form of equivalent compensation
with all the other signatory states to the Chile-MERCOSUR Agreement. While this situation does not
make Chilean accession to the NAFTA impossible, it reduces the practical viability of this option
because Chile must now answer to MERCOSUR for anything it may concede to the NAFTA (O'Keefe
On March 18, 2004, the following complaint was made by the US to the World Trade
Organization: The United States claims that, although China provides for a 17 percent VAT on ICs,
enterprises in China are entitled to a partial refund of the VAT on ICs that they have produced, resulting
in a lower VAT rate on their products. In the US view, China thus appears to be subjecting imported ICs
to higher taxes than applied to domestically produced ICs and to be according less favourable treatment
to imported ICs (wto.org). And the following resolution was made on July14, 2004; China agreed to
amend or revoke the measures at issue to eliminate the availability of VAT refunds on ICs produced and
sold in China and on ICs designed in China but manufactured abroad by 1 November 2004 and 1
September 2004 respectively (wto.org).
NAFTA affects me as a US citizen. It helps US companies grow quicker and gain the financial
support (and business) in the form of overseas investing. If I was to start a company, I could easily ship
goods overseas and/or get investors for my company. This would help my business grow. Our
free-market mentality encompasses the globe. Some say NAFTA helps large companies grow but
promotes the exporting of US jobs. If this is true, I, or someone I know, might have a harder time
finding or keeping a job: Between 1993 and 2002, NAFTA resulted in an increase in exports that
created 794,194 jobs, but it displaced production that would have supported 1,673,454 jobs (see
figure). Thus, the combined effect of changes in imports and exports as a result of NAFTA was a loss
of 879,280 U.S. jobs. These NAFTA-related job losses suggest that U.S. workers have good reason to
be concerned that the proposed Free Trade Agreement of the Americas will threaten jobs and
NAFTA helps to make my purchases cheaper. If a certain material or part used to make an
American car was taxed coming in, it would most likely cost more when I bought the finished car. I
also assume that gas prices would soar should NAFTA demise. On the other hand, this might cause us
to rely less on other countries for energy and we could have avoided spending the money we did on
funding war. In conclusion, NAFTA greatly affects the economy I live in. On a side-note, our free-
market mentality and way of life seems to segregate the wealth of our nation and make us unbalanced.
We may one day need to (or be forced to) abandon it if the wealthy do not act responsibly.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was established on July 4th, 1973. It was created to
further promote effective interactions between members, which include: Antigua and Barbuda,
Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and
Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago. There are also
five additional members without full membership (associate membership): Anguilla, Bermuda, British
Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, and Turks and Caicos Islands. From 1989 to 2000, members from all
states agreed on nine protocols to change the common market into a single market and economy
(CSME). This revision was called the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. Under CARICOM there are
numerous groups dedicated to different areas of interest. Some include: Caribbean Community Climate
Change Center (CCCCC), Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response
Agency (CDERA), Caribbean Food Corporation (CFC), Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU),
and the Council of Legal Education (CLE).
...continued on part 2
North American Free Trade Agreement. 1998. NaftaNow.org. 3 March 2009..
Selko, Adrienne. NAFTA: LEARNING TO LOVE THY NEIGHBOR. IndustryWeek. 1 Feb 2009: Pg. 38.
Drajem, Mark. White House defends NAFTA from Democrats; Clinton, Obama pledge to pull out of trade agreement. National Post (Canada). 5 March 2008: A13
OKeefe, Thomas Andrew. Potential Conflict Areas In Any Future Negotiations Between Mercosur And The NAFTA To Create A Free Trade Area Of The Americas. Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law. 1997: pp.305-318.
DISPUTE SETTLEMENT: DISPUTE DS309- China: Value-Added Tax on Integrated Circuits. 2004. WTO.org. 4 March 2009 .
Scott, Robert E. NAFTA-related job losses have piled up since 1993. 10 Dec. 2003. Economic Policy Institute. 4 March 2009 .
CARICOM rallying to help hurricane victims. 18 Sep 2008. Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM). 4 March 2009 .
The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). 2009. Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat. 4 March 2009 .
Caribbean Renewable Energy Programme (CREDP). 2009. Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat. 4 March 2009 .
DISPUTE SETTLEMENT: DISPUTE DS285- United States: Measures Affecting the Cross-Border Supply of Gambling and Betting Services. 2008. WTO.org. 3 March 2009 .
US state governor aims to set up trade missions to Caribbean. 3 Nov. 2007. BBC Monitoring Latin America Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring. Lexis-Nexis. 3 March 2009.
CARICOM urges new US president to end Cuba embargo. 10 Dec. 2008. BBC Monitoring Latin America Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring. Lexis-Nexis. 3 March 2009.
DISPUTE SETTLEMENT: DISPUTE DS185- Trinidad and Tobago: Anti-Dumping Measures on Pasta from Costa Rica. 2009. WTO.org. 3 March 2009 .
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