20 Years of NAFTA are an Unqualified Success

Nov 16, 2012

Next month will be the twentieth anniversary of the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Today, the United States, Canada, and Mexico are more integrated and more globally competitive, and the free trade pact has opened greater opportunities for U.S. consumers, workers, and businesses.

In San Antonio, Texas, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue looked back at 20 years of NAFTA success. “NAFTA propelled an explosion in trade, jobs, and growth and enhanced the competitiveness of all three countries,” he said.

A U.S. Chamber report, NAFTA Triumphant backs that up:

  • U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico has more than tripled to $1.2 trillion in 2011.
  • Trade with Canada and Mexico supports 14 million jobs and 5 million net jobs are the result of increased trade from NAFTA.
  • More than 800,000 manufacturing jobs were added in the first four years after NAFTA entered into force.
  • In 2011, Canada and Mexico purchased $428 billion in U.S. manufactured goods, and service exports to both countries have tripled.
  • Canada and Mexico are the top two exports markets for U.S. small and medium-sized businesses.

Looking ahead, Donohue urged the three NAFTA members “to advance the integration of our markets to further rationalize our supply chains, increase efficiency, and better position North America in the global economy” through regulatory cooperation, border, and immigration reforms.

Also, all three countries look to increase trade opportunities beyond North America by working to craft a high-quality Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement with a number of Pacific Rim nations. “It would be a tremendous boost to our economies at a time when we badly need it,” said Donohue.

The lesson of NAFTA is that trade is good for jobs, economic growth, and higher living standards. A good way to celebrate is to continue promoting the benefits of trade.

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