The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
The North American Free Trade Agreement is a free trade agreement among Canada, the United States of America, and Mexico, based on the model of the European Communities (today: European Union). NAFTA was signed separately by the leaders of the three countries, president Bill Clinton, president Carlos Salinas de Gortari and prime minister Brian Mulroney on December 17, 1992 and went into effect on January 1, 1994. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which became effective on January 1, 1994, demanded both the gradual and immediate elimination of most tariffs and other trade barriers on products and services traded between Mexico, Canada and the United States. While trade agreements could serve as vehicles to promote a more sustainable and just development, NAFTA did very little to safeguard our environment. NAFTA transferred enormous power from democratic governments to multi-national corporations and faceless global market forces - and today communities across North America are at a higher risk to dirtier air, unsafe drinking water, and food-borne illnesses. NAFTA gave multinational corporations the power to challenge environmental and public interest laws directly in secret tribunals for cash compensation. Also in the NAFTA agreement are rules on "trade in services," which could force governments to weaken environmental standards in areas such as trucking, logging, mining, water supply, real estate development, factory farming, and more. For example: To comply with NAFTA's rules on trade in services, the Bush administration recently waived US clean air standards in order to allow trucks based in Mexico (which comply with much more lax emissions standards) to haul freight on US highways. The increase in air pollution will especially impact Latino communities along the U.S. - Mexico border - communities already suffering from extreme air pollution. In 2000, Mexican President Vicente Fox advocated...
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