U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico quadrupled from $11 billion in 1993 to $43 billion in 2016. It accounted for 25% of total food exports and supported 20 million jobs. This trade has mobilized another $54.6 billion in business investment. NAFTA has had a profound influence on trade, where, what and how we act. NAFTA has been and remains a disaster in terms of climate change and sustainability. Real exports of goods to Canada increased by 50% between 1993 and 2016 and real imports of goods increased by 41%. NAFTA appears to have improved the U.S. trade position vis-à-vis Canada.
In fact, the two countries already had a free trade agreement since 1988, but the pattern persists – the U.S. trade deficit with Canada was even larger in 1987 than in 1993. Nevertheless, there is something great about this confusion between NAFTA and the letters of globalization. The agreement « launched a new generation of trade agreements in the Western Hemisphere and other parts of the world, » the CRS writes, so NAFTA has rightly become an acronym for 20 years of broad diplomatic, political and trade consensus that free trade is generally a good thing. What has happened is that hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost jobs in production production, free trade was not really free because of « import substitution » and has created a false sense of stability for Mexico, etc., environmental protection measures can prevent the destruction of natural resources and crops. Labour laws prevent poor working conditions. The World Trade Organization imposes rules on free trade agreements. The Trump administration has renegotiated to reduce the trade deficit between the United States and Mexico. The new agreement amends NAFTA in six important areas. It is impossible to isolate the effects of NAFTA in the larger economy.
For example, it is difficult to say with certainty what percentage of the current U.S. trade deficit, which reached a record $65,677 million at the end of 2005, is directly attributable to NAFTA. It is also difficult to say what percentage of the 3.3 million manufacturing jobs that were lost in the United States between 1998 and 2004 is the result of NAFTA and what percentage would have been created without this trade agreement. It cannot even be said with certainty that the intensification of trade between NAFTA countries is exclusively the result of the trade agreement. Those who support the agreement generally claim NAFTA loans for enhanced trade activity and reject the idea that the agreement has resulted in job losses or a growing trade deficit with Canada and Mexico ($8,039 million and $4,263 million respectively in December 2005). Critics of the agreement generally associate it with these deficits and job losses.