The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an agreement signed by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994. It superseded the Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Canada. In terms of combined GDP of its members, as of 2010 the trade bloc is the largest in the world. NAFTA has two supplements: the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) and the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC). Facts
Negotiation and U.S. ratification
Following diplomatic negotiations dating back to 1986 among the three nations, the leaders met in San Antonio, Texas, on December 17, 1992, to sign NAFTA. U.S. President George H. W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas, each responsible for spearheading and promoting the agreement, ceremonially signed it. The agreement then needed to be ratified by each nation's legislative or parliamentary branch. Before the negotiations were finalized, Bill Clinton came into office in the U.S. and Kim Campbell in Canada, and before the agreement became law,Jean Chrétien had taken office in Canada. The proposed Canada-U.S.trade agreement had been very controversial and divisive in Canada, and the 1988 Canadian election was fought almost exclusively on that issue. In that election, more Canadians voted for anti-free trade parties (the Liberals and the New Democrats) but the split caused more seats in parliament to be won by the pro-free trade Progressive Conservatives (PCs). Mulroney and the PCs had a parliamentary majority and were easily able to pass the Canada-US FTA and NAFTA bills. However, Mulroney himself had become deeply unpopular and resigned on June 25, 1993. He was replaced as Conservative leader and prime minister by Kim Campbell. Campbell led the PC party into the 1993 election where they were decimated by the Liberal Party under Jean Chrétien, who had campaigned on a promise to renegotiate or abrogate NAFTA; however, Chrétien subsequently negotiated two supplemental agreements with the new US president. In the US, Bush, who had worked to "fast track" the signing prior to the end of his term, ran out of time and had to pass the required ratification and signing into law to incoming president Bill Clinton. Prior to sending it to the United States Senate, Clinton introduced clauses to protect American workers and allay the concerns of many House members. It also required US partners to adhere to environmental practices and regulations similar to its own. With much consideration and emotional discussion, the House of Representatives approved NAFTA on November 17, 1993, 234-200. The agreement's supporters included 132 Republicans and 102 Democrats. NAFTA passed the Senate 61-38. Senate supporters were 34 Republicans and 27 Democrats. Clinton signed it into law on December 8, 1993; it went into effect on January 1, 1994. Clinton while signing the NAFTA bill stated that "NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't support this agreement." -------------------------------------------------
The goal of NAFTA was to eliminate barriers to trade and investment between the US, Canada and Mexico. The implementation of NAFTA on January 1, 1994 brought the immediate elimination of tariffs on more than one-half of Mexico's exports to the U.S. and more than one-third of U.S. exports to Mexico. Within 10 years of the implementation of the agreement, all US-Mexico tariffs would be eliminated except for some U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico that were to be phased out within 15 years. Most U.S.-Canada trade was already duty free. NAFTA also seeks to eliminate non-tariff trade barriers and to protect the intellectual property...