General Issues and Regional Groups
- Elgar original reference
Edited by Miroslav N. Jovanović
Chapter 15: The North American Free Trade Agreement: Fait Accompli?
15 The North American Free Trade Agreement: fait accompli ? Murray G. Smith 1 INTRODUCTION The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was a far-reaching innovative and comprehensive integration agreement when it was negotiated in the early 1990s. Highly contentious at the outset in the United States, NAFTA has received much less attention in recent years although it stirred interest in the 2008 presidential election campaign in the United States. This chapter is structured as follows. Section 2 starts with a review of the background of NAFTA. Much analysis was undertaken ex ante of the economic impacts of NAFTA (Section 3), but there were also populist concerns that the economic impact could have negative consequences. Has NAFTA worked in terms of economic integration? Has NAFTA achieved the economic benefits foreseen for the partners? There has been criticism of NAFTA in the following areas: ● ● ● that it would lead to potential trade diversion; on political economy grounds that NAFTA would reduce of the partners in broader trade liberalisation; and on sovereignty grounds that political, economic or cultural sovereignty would be eroded in unintended or unexpected ways. Has NAFTA led to significant trade diversion? What has been the political economy effect on the three countries of joining NAFTA? Have they evolved towards a common commercial policy? Have they become more or less interested in either multilateral or regional trade initiatives? Each of these issues is assessed (Sections 4 and 5). In Section 6, the issue of the likelihood of further integration under NAFTA is...
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