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The agreement was initially pursued by conservative governments in the United States and Canada supportive of free trade, led by Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, U.S. President George H. W. Bush, and the Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari. The three-nation NAFTA was signed on 17 December 1992, pending its ratification by the legislatures of the three countries. There was considerable opposition in all three countries, but in the United States it was able to secure passage after Bill Clinton made its passage a major legislative initiative in 1993. During his presidential campaign he had promised to review the agreement, which he considered inadequate. Since the agreement had been signed by Bush under his fast-track prerogative, Clinton did not alter the original agreement, but complemented it with the aforementioned NAAEC and NAALC. After intense political debate and the negotiation of these side agreements, the U.S. House passed NAFTA by 234-200 (132 Republicans and 102 Democrats voting in favor, 156 Democrats, 43 Republicans, and 1 independent against). and the U.S. Senate passed it by 61-38 Finally, Clinton sanctioned the ratification in November of 1993.
NAFTA demonstrates the benefits trade can bring to all countries. When NAFTA was implemented 10 years ago, it created the world’s largest free trade area, which now links 426 million people in an area which produces more than $12 trillion worth of goods and services. During the past decade, NAFTA partners have been conducting business within a framework that is extremely open, governed by clear rules and accessible enforcement mechanisms, with the goal of greater economic integration and cooperation. Some examples of NAFTA’s success:
INCREASED EXPORTS AND INVESTMENT FLOWS
● All member economies have grown significantly from 1993-2003:
· United States: 38% economic growth
· Canada: 30.9% growth
· Mexico: 30% growth
● U.S. exports to Canada and Mexico grew from US$134.3 billion (US$46.5 billion to Mexico and US$87.8 billion to Canada) to US$250.6 billion (US$105.4 and US$145.3 billion respectively).
● Mexican exports to the United States reached over US$138 billion, while Mexican exports to Canada grew from US$2.7 billion to US$8.7 billion, an increase of almost 227%.
● Canada’s exports to its NAFTA partners increased by 104% in value.
Jane Slaughter: There is a movement that says we should try to keep our economic interactions closer to home, both to avoid spending so much on transportation and to encourage community. But you see "Buy American" as different. What’s the logic behind "Buy American"?
Dana Frank: When we think about Buy American campaigns, we need to think about "What’s the goal we’re trying to achieve?" The economic logic seems clear: we buy goods made in the U.S., and then the manufacturers will take the money they make from that and reinvest it in the U.S. And union folks, especially, want that to be reinvested in good union jobs. We’re trying to create some kind of national community, and we’re trying to say, "We want good jobs to be sustained within the U.S."