The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an agreement signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, on New Years Day 1944 that thus created a trilateral trade bloc in North America. What the NAFTA aggreement was designed to do was lift trade and investment deterents between the three countries. The first thing it did towards this goal was phase out any tarrifs that existed between the countries. It also is supposed to eliminate non-tarrif trade restrictions.
One of the hinderences of the NAFTA aggreement was the environmental concerns. The American people thought that the US freely trading with these countries would promote harmful environmental activities. Present Clinton accordingly got Canada and Mexico to agree to and sign the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC). The Commission for Environmental Cooperation was established to monitor the environmental effects of NAFTA. NAFTA is still an issue of concern now, as can be seen by this exchange at the Presidental Debate:
- Tim Russert:: Senator Obama . . . Simple question: Will you, as president, say to Canada and Mexico, “This has not worked for us; we are out”?
Obama: “I will make sure that we renegotiate, in the same way that Senator Clinton talked about. And I think actually Senator Clinton’s answer on this one is right. I think we should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage to ensure that we actually get labor and environmental standards that are enforced. And that is not what has been happening so far.” February 23, 2008