Advantages & Disadvantages of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)

Last Updated: 20 Apr 2022
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This article supports a theory that explains the advantages and disadvantages of NAFTA. Nowadays it has become a topic of debate. In this article we will discuss about the effect of NAFTA on Businesses of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. What is NAFTA, What are the advantages of NAFTA and what are the disadvantages of NAFTA, these point mainly are discussed in the following essay. This has become a topic of debate since 1994, when this agreement came into existence.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

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A trade agreement entered into by the United States, Canada and Mexico to help, among other things, eliminate barriers to trade, promote conditions of fair trade across borders, increase investment opportunities, and promote and protect intellectual property rights.

NAFTA is The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that was signed on August 12, 1991 by the United States, Canada, and Mexico.  It came into existence on January 1, 1994. After this agreement the three countries became the largest free market in the world. It is a trade union in North America which is created by the government of three countries United States, Canada, and Mexico.

QA about NAFTA

What is the North American Free Trade Agreement?

NAFTA. In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect, creating one of the world's largest free trade zones and laying the foundations for strong economic growth and rising prosperity for Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

What is Nafta all about?

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a treaty entered into by the United States, Canada, and Mexico; it went into effect on January 1, 1994. (Free trade had existed between the U.S. and Canada since 1989; NAFTA broadened that arrangement.)

What is the TPP?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was a secretive, multinational trade agreement that threatened to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement. The agreement was finally abandoned in November 2016 following the U.S. Presidential election.

What is the TPP trade agreement?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), or the Trans Pacific PartnershipAgreement (TPPA), is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States (until 23 January 2017) and Vietnam.

Why is Nafta important to the United States?

Goals of NAFTANAFTA was created to eliminate barriers to trade and investment between the US, Canada and Mexico. The implementation of NAFTA immediately eliminated tariffs on more than one-half of Mexico's exports to the US and more than one-third of US. exports to Mexico.

What is the purpose of the Trans Pacific Partnership?

It is a proposed free trade deal currently being negotiated between 11 countries. These are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, United States, Singapore and Vietnam. The pact is aimed at deepening economic ties between these nations.

Obama's Stance: During the presidential campaign, Obama's Web site stated, "NAFTA and its potential were oversold to the American people" and promised to "fix" the agreement so it "works for American workers." Obama claimed he would seek renegotiation of the trade deal to include more rigorous labor and environmental stipulations -- a position that has not received positive responses from the leaders of Canada and Mexico.

Two supplements of NAFTA are-

1.      The North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC)

2.      The North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation (NAALC)

NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) play an important role in eliminating most tariffs between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. To remove tariff difficulty in agricultural, manufacturing, and services trade are the main goal of NAFTA.

U.S., Canada, and Mexico Businesses are affected by NAFTA. Some business analyst says that it has created a positive effect for business owners and some says it is not beneficial for U.S. businesses.


NAFTA eliminated all non- tariff barriers related with agriculture between the United States and Mexico. The world's largest market was created by Mexico, the United States, and Canada. In 1993, the best foreign customers of Unites State were Canada and Mexico. Nearly two-third part of export was sent in Canada and Mexico. After the NAFTA agreement the Mexican market opens the door for many other U.S. firms like Pollution Control Exports. These firms were to raise their business into Mexico. After the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) U.S. export has been growth nearly two-thirds and it is expected that this growth will be continue. This growth will create strong trade flows within North America North America has become centre of the global trading system after this agreement. Approx 70 percent of Mexico's imports fully originate in the United States. Mexican consumers have become dependent on U.S. goods. 15 percent of every dollar spent in Mexico goes to the United States. This reflects the importance of U.S. goods in Mexico. On the other hand 30 percent of every dollar spent in Canada goes to the United States.

Without NAFTA the U.S. import and export both can not reach at this stage. It became possible only because of the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Under the NAFTA all tariffs which affect the agricultural trade between the United States and Canada were removed. The main advantage of the NAFTA agreement was the elimination of tariff for qualifying products. Tariff imbalance was removed by NAFTA between United State and Mexico. 50 percent of the tariffs were eliminated at the time when agreement came into existence and remaining was targeted for gradual elimination.

In 2008, Non-tariff barriers are eliminated. Border between Mexico and the United State has opened in 2008. Non-tariff barriers were the biggest obstacle for business activities between Mexico and the United State. Mexico, the United States, and Canada established some standards also. The main standards are-

1.      Health standards

2.      Safety standards

3.      Industrial standards

Labour and environmental issues are also handled by the NAFTA. Commissions are established for this purpose. Telecommunications trade also got expansion after NAFTA. This agreement played an important role in reducing tariff for motor vehicles, auto parts and automobile. It eliminated textile and apparel barriers. Jobs in financial services increased after this agreement. Insurance market has also taken place after the NAFTA. Investment opportunities and protection for intellectual property rights increased after this agreement. These rights are first time fixed by the NAFTA. Rights of American firms are expanded.

According to the NAFTA agreement the goods imported from other NAFTA countries into a NAFTA country will receive the status of “national goods” and local governments can not impose taxes or tariffs on those goods. This thing has become very beneficial for the U.S. Businesses. Mexican markets for United State business were not opened before this agreement. Because of this production became possible at lower rate for American firms. The Mexican market is growing rapidly and this will be beneficial for the United State. More export opportunities will be grown and these opportunities will produce more jobs. Costumers are taking the advantage of lowered trade barriers. They can purchase a good at lower price. Mexican consumers use U.S. products more than their own products. In 2006 U.S. Exports to Canada and Mexico was 364.4 billion USD and it is increasing with time. (“National Trade Data U.S. Department of Commerce”).

NAFTA is very useful for Canada. With the help of this agreement they could provide their services and goods to Mexico and the United States. Canada wanted that investors would invest in Canada. The NAFTA helped Canada in this matter. Economy of Canada became strong with the help of this agreement. This agreement provided a new stage to the Canadian business. Mexican barriers were removed by this agreement. It was a big advantage for Canada. It gave a new market to the Canada. Now Canada can transport their goods into Mexican market. Restrictions, which were there earlier, removed by this agreement.  Import licensing requirements were removed by NAFTA.

Agriculture goods of Canada are mainly exported to other countries because there are very good farming lands in Canada. The excellent crops of Canada are mainly exported. Canada and Mexico signed a separate agreement under NAFTA. On the basis of this agreement Canadian goods can get immediate access to the Mexican market. The tax, on imported goods of Canada, was decreased by NAFTA. This was a great advantage of NAFTA for Canadian farmers.

A big part of Canadian export is related to auto manufacturing industry. NAFTA removed the imbalance between Canada and Mexico in the auto industry. With the help of North American Free Trade Agreement Canada can openly access market of North America auto industry. Service sector plays an important role in Canadian economy.

A temporary entry across the border is allowed under the NAFTA between Canada and United State. Every business of Canada got the advantage of The North American Free Trade Agreement.

Not only Canada and United State got the advantage NAFTA, but Mexico also got the advantage of NAFTA. Mexican economy became stable after this agreement. There is a lack of Employment in Mexico. United State and Canadian firms are serving Mexican market. These firms have increased employment in Mexico and it became possible because of NAFTA.


Because of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) many U.S. workers have lost their jobs in manufacturing and assembly industries. Inequality in the U.S. has been raised by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). According to some analyst NAFTA is not sufficient to produce an economic union and it is not enough to reduce poverty rates (Floudas, 2000, p. 371).  The main disadvantage of NAFTA for U.S. Businesses is that after this agreement trade barriers are abolished, that’s why the U.S. firms are trying to take advantage of cheap labour. It is closing the door for the U.S. labours to work in the U.S. firms. United state firms providing job to the Mexican labours because of low cost. That’s why many workers of United State firm have lost their jobs.

This has become the topic of worry for strong among labour unions and other worker organizations. Oppositionist also says that anti-pollution policies of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are not adequate.

Complexity of the international trading system is also increased by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Transaction costs for business are increased after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The NAFTA agreement was more than one thousand pages long. That’s why more than two dozen committees and working groups had to be established.

These are the main advantages and disadvantages of North American Free Trade Agreement. Every thing has two aspects good and bad. On the basis of the above arguments we can say that the North American Free Trade Agreement has more advantages than disadvantages.

American Views on NAFTA: Critics of NAFTA argue that the trade agreement is responsible for devastating job losses in the United States, especially in the manufacturing industry.

  • In August, a slim majority of American respondents (53%) told Gallup that the effect of NAFTA on the U.S. economy has been "mainly negative," while 37% said the effect has been "mainly positive."
  • Working Americans are slightly more likely than unemployed Americans to say the effect of NAFTA on the U.S. economy has been "mainly negative," 56% to 48%.

Canadian Views on NAFTA: Canada's Harper said it would be a mistake to renegotiate NAFTA, but said he will come to the table if the United States and Mexico insisted.

  • Canadians are more positive about NAFTA's effect on their country's economy than are respondents from the United States or Mexico. When Gallup polled Canadians in September, a bare majority (51%) said NAFTA has had a "mainly positive" effect on the Canadian economy, while 39% said the agreement has been "mainly negative" for the economy.
  • When asked if they would support revising the agreement if the United States planned to withdraw from NAFTA and wanted to negotiate a new trade deal, 45% of Canadians said their government should agree to start negotiating a new trade agreement, while about a third (34%) said the government should try to keep NAFTA in its current form.
  • Canadians who said they have a job were no more likely than those without a job to view NAFTA's effect on their economy as positive.

Mexican Views on NAFTA: Mexico's Calderon has argued that renegotiation of NAFTA is unnecessary and would lead to increased illegal immigration in the United States. When Gallup asked Mexicans in August 2008 whether NAFTA has had a "mainly positive" or "mainly negative" effect on the Mexican economy, citizens were divided:

  • Twenty percent of Mexicans said the effect of NAFTA on the Mexican economy has been "mainly positive," while 23% said its effect has been "mainly negative."
  • Eighteen percent said NAFTA has been neither positive nor negative for the country's economy.
  • Roughly 4 in 10 Mexicans (39%) did not have an opinion.
  • Mexicans who said they have a job are more likely than those who said they do not work to view NAFTA's effect on their economy as "mainly positive," 25% vs. 18%.


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Cite this Page

Advantages & Disadvantages of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). (2018, Oct 25). Retrieved from

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