NAFTA was built on the concept of a free trade agreement between the United States and Canada back in 1989 that eliminated or reduced many of the tariffs between the two countries.
In the early nineties Mexico was invited to participate on the trade and on December 1992 NAFTA was signed by the presidents of the three countries. Brian Mulroney of Canada, Carlos Salinas de Gortari of Mexico and George H. W. Bush for the United States. Despite the approval of all three leaders, the agreement would not take effect until the legislators in all three countries had also approved it.
The trade agreement ignited fierce opposition from environmental and labor groups. Many feared that we were going to lose jobs because of cheaper labor from our neighbors to the south and the agreement was going to facilitate the move of U.S. production plants to the south. Environmental groups were concerned that pollution and food safety controls would be more difficult to enforce and could be challenged and eliminated on the grounds that they were trade barriers. In response to these concerns, two supplemental agreements were added to the formal treaty. One was going to address labor issues and the other environmental issues. In November of 1993 the United States Congress approved NAFTA, during the term of President Bill Clinton and The North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect on 1 January 1994.
The most innovative and controversial aspects of NAFTA have been the environment provisions, which are included in the agreement itself and a separate Supplementary Agreement on the Environment. These provisions make NAFTA the most environmentally conscious trade agreement ever negotiated. The supplementary agreement established the Commission on Environment Cooperation (CEC), composed of senior environmental officials from each country. All three countries agreed to prohibit the relaxation of these regulations under any... [continues]
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