Labor, Trade, & Finance

North American Free Trade Agreement

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) sets guidelines for the elimination of most trade and investment barriers between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico over a 15-year period. In place since January 1, 1994, NAFTA is an experiment that builds upon a U.S.-Canadian Free Trade Agreement signed in 1988. Never before has an agreement gone so far to integrate the economies of nations that are so unequal. The gap between average U.S. and Mexican wages is about 8-to-1, which is twice as large as the wage gap between the European Union’s richest and poorest members.

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