North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
NAFTA: A Foundation for Canada’s Future Prosperity
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Mexican President Carlos Salinas, and U.S. President George H.W. Bush, came into effect on January 1, 1994. Since 1993, NAFTA has generated economic growth and rising standards of living for the people of all three member countries. By strengthening the rules and procedures governing trade and investment throughout the continent, NAFTA has proved to be a solid foundation for building Canada’s future prosperity.
Canada's merchandise trade with its NAFTA partners reached nearly $626.3 billion in 2008. Canadian merchandise exports to the United States grew at a compounded annual rate of almost 6.3% between 1993 and 2008. Canada’s bilateral trade with Mexico was close to $23.8 billion in 2008. Approximately eighty percent of Canada’s total merchandise exports were destined to our NAFTA partners in 2008. Total merchandise trade between Canada and the United States more than doubled between 1993 and 2008. Trade between Canada and Mexico has more than quadrupled over the same period.
Trade in services has also increased under NAFTA. Canada's trade in services with the United States and Mexico grew has doubled from $42.9 billion in 1993 to $86.5 billion in 2005. Our trade in services with the United States reached $91.3 billion in 2008, up from $42.3 billion in 1993. Two-way trade in services between Canada and Mexico reached $1.8 billion in 2006.
In turn, the enhanced economic activity and production in the region have contributed to the creation of jobs for Canadians. One in five jobs in Canada is related in part to trade. More than 4.3 million net new jobs have been created in Canada between 1993 and 2008.
For Canadians, it is important that trade and investment liberalization proceed hand in hand with efforts to protect the environment and improve working conditions. Under NAFTA, our three countries have been able to introduce the successful approach of parallel environmental and labour cooperation agreements.
The economic collaboration promoted by NAFTA has spurred better environmental performance across the region. Through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, the three partners agreed to promote the effective enforcement of environmental laws. Through the North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation, the three partners agreed to work together to protect, enhance and enforce basic workers’ rights.
A strong, modern and flexible NAFTA is important for the continent to maintain its competitiveness in an increasingly complex and connected global marketsplace. Canada and its NAFTA partners will continue to work together to reduce the costs of trading within the region and to improve the competitiveness of North America.
- ARCHIVED - Fast Facts: North American Free Trade Agreement
- ARCHIVED - NAFTA at Ten: A Decade of Strengthening a Dynamic Relationship
- NAFTA@10: ARCHIVED - A Preliminary Report
- ARCHIVED - Report Concerning Article 316.3 of the NAFTA
- Notes of Interpretation of Certain Chapter 11 Provisions
(NAFTA Free Trade Commission, July 31, 2001)
- ARCHIVED - NAFTA Works: Six Years, Three Countries, One Partnership
A trilateral perspective on the Agreement's impact over the past five years.
- ARCHIVED - The NAFTA at Five Years: A Partnership at Work
A detailed Canadian report on the NAFTA's accomplishments since 1994. Contains the latest trade and investment data and a Summary of Recent Reports on the NAFTA's impact.
- ARCHIVED - NAFTA: What it's all about
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