The NAFTA agreement was signed in 1992, ratified in 1993 and implemented in 1994. It was designed to completely rescind trade barriers between these three nations. It had been surmised that this agreement would enhance employment due to increase in trade (North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) , 1995).
This agreement, which is second only to the European Economic Area in trade volumes, constitutes a single free trading zone for approximately three hundred and sixty – five million consumers of these three countries. It set aside import duties on a large number of goods that were exported from the US to Mexico and over a period of fourteen years, hoped to eliminate all tariffs. Subsequently, sections on affording protection to workers and the environment were included (Vogel, 2007).
An agreement was reached between Canada, Mexico and the United States of America, whereby a free trade zone was to be created between these countries. This was termed as the North American Free Trade Agreement or the NAFTA. It has been instrumental in providing a platform for resolving trade related disputes amongst these nations. Furthermore, the NAFTA has actively taken up the safeguarding of intellectual property rights and compliance with the laws relating to the protection of such rights (North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) , 2003).
The NAFTA has engendered bitter and persistent opposition. A number of collective bargaining organizations have highlighted the fact that the prevalence of abundant and comparatively cheaper labor in Mexico has prompted several manufacturers to shift their operations to that country. The result of this relocation has been a drastic reduction of jobs in the US. However, opponents to this contention have argued that the free trade brought about by the NAFTA has generated more jobs than it has destroyed in the US (North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) , 2002).
There has been a marked increase in unemployment in the US. Moreover, the number of immigrants, both legal and illegal, into the US has depicted an unprecedented increase. The mass immigration of Mexicans is so grave that on many an occasion, they have risked their lives to enter the US. A meaningful decision regarding the various disputes besetting NAFTA has not been taken and it seems to have failed miserably (Tonelson, 2004).
The consensus of most of the authentic reports has been that NAFTA has benefited only the transnational corporations. Workers, farmers and small businesses in Canada, Mexico and the US have uniformly been put to a huge loss. In addition, the environment has also sustained considerable damage due to this agreement. The health, safety and rights of labor in all three countries were badly compromised. However, there was a significant boost to the economy of the US and Mexico (Brown). Therefore, it can be stated, unequivocally, that the NAFTA, has by and large been a fiasco and the only beneficiaries have been the transnational corporations. “North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).” The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Houghton Mifflin. 2002. CredoReference. 18 December 2007 <DISPLAYURL>. The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Houghton Mifflin, 2002, s.v. “North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),” DISPLAYURL (accessed December 18, 2007). http://www.credoreference.com/entry/2444726
Brown, G. (n.d.). Speak Out: Portrait of a Failure, NAFTA and Workplace Health and Safety. Retrieved December 18, 2007, from MHSSN: http://mhssn.igc.org/brown_synergist.htm
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North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) . (1995). Retrieved December 18 , 2007, from In Dictionary of Economics, Wiley: http://www.credoreference.com/entry/2765482North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) . (2003). Retrieved December 18, 2007, from Webster’s New World Finance and Investment Dictionary: http://www.credoreference.com/entry/
Tonelson, A. (2004, January 20). NAFTA at 10 – A Miserable Failure. Retrieved December 18, 2007, from American Economic Alert: http://www.americaneconomicalert.org/view_art.asp?Prod_ID=936
Vogel, D. (2007). North American Free Trade Agreement . Microsoft® Student 2008 [DVD] . Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation.