The North American Free Trade Agreement: Time for a Change?

7th Annual North American Regional Meeting
The Trilateral Commission

November 21, 2008

While popular criticism of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been greatly overstated, the agreement, which was state of the art when promulgated 15 years ago, is showing its age and needs a renovation to take account of important changes in the world economy and the lessons and improvements of more recent trade negotiations. NAFTA was conceived as a living document, and temporary updates are both necessary and desirable to ensure that the agreement contributes to sustainable economic growth in the NAFTA countries. Thus the NAFTA partners should upgrade the agreement to respond to new economic and political challenges, including issues of border security, climate change, and energy, while at the same time updating the agreement's labor and environmental provisions based on the models of more recent trade agreements such as that between the United States and Peru.

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Jeffrey J. Schott Senior Research Staff

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