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Canada recorded a more moderate increase in trade with the United States than Mexico as a result of NAFTA, with 63.5% adjusted for inflation (trade between Canada and Mexico remains negligible). Unlike Mexico, it has no trade surplus with the United States. While it sells more goods to the United States than it buys, a large services trade deficit with its southern neighbor brings the total balance to -$11.9 billion in 2015. In 2008, Canadian exports to the United States and Mexico totaled $US 381.3 billion and imports totaled $245.1 billion. [59] According to an article by University of Toronto economist Daniel Trefler in 2004, NAFTA brought Canada a significant net benefit in 2003, with long-term productivity increasing by 15 per cent in sectors with the lowest tariff reductions. [60] While the contraction of low-productivity firms has reduced employment (up to 12% of existing jobs), these job losses have lasted less than a decade; Overall, unemployment has declined in Canada since the legislation was passed. Mr. Trefler commented on this compromise and said the crucial issue of trade policy was “understanding how free trade in an industrialized economy can be implemented in a way that recognizes both the long-term benefits and the short-term adjustment costs of workers and others.” [61] Despite the debate over its long-term implications, NAFTA is undoubtedly one of the most important trade agreements in recent history. When George H.W. Bush became president, he began negotiating with Mexican President Salinas to reach a trade agreement between Mexico and the United States.

The trade deal was part of President Bush`s tripartite enterprise for the Americas Initiative, which included debt relief programs. During her election campaign, Hillary Clinton felt the deal was flawed. Some estimates indicate that NAFTA has benefited U.S. GDP by only about 0.5 percent, or about $80 billion, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. NAFTA is often held responsible for things that could not be its fault. In 1999, the Christian Science Monitor wrote of an Arkansas town that it would “collapse, some said, like so many NAFTA ghost towns, which have lost needle trading and production jobs in places like Sri Lanka or Honduras.” Sri Lanka and Honduras are not parties to the agreement. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “the agreement also aimed to protect intellectual property, establish dispute settlement mechanisms, and implement labor and environmental protection measures through ancillary agreements.” However, it is unclear whether NAFTA is directly responsible for this decline. The automotive industry is generally considered to be one of the industries most affected by the agreement. But although the U.S.

auto market was immediately opened up to Mexican competition, employment in this sector increased for years after the introduction of NAFTA, peaking at nearly 1.3 million in October 2000. At that time, jobs began to slip and the losses became greater with the financial crisis. At its June 2009 low, the U.S. auto industry employed only 623,000 people. While this figure has risen to 948,000 since then, it remains 27% below its pre-NAFTA level. In 1984, Congress passed the Trade and Customs Act, which itself built on and amended the previous Trade Act of 1974. This law gave an increased “accelerated” power to negotiate bilateral free trade agreements and streamlined negotiations. The kick-off of a North American free trade area began with U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who made the idea part of his 1980 presidential campaign. After the signing of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement in 1988, the governments of U.S.

President George H. W. Bush, Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney agreed to negotiate NAFTA. Both submitted the agreement for ratification in their respective capitals in December 1992, but NAFTA met with considerable opposition in both the United States and Canada. .