North American Free Trade Agreement

In 1947, in the aftermath of World War II, 23 nations signed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Over time the number of signatory nations grew and by 1986, the year of GATT's eighth round of trade negotiations (known as the “Uruguay” round), there were 75, including Mexico, which joined that year.

In 1989, at a time when market-based, low-tariff trade of goods and services between countries was being touted as a driver of investment and economic growth, the United States and Canada negotiated the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). Soon after, Mexico, then governed by newly-elected, neoliberal president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, signaled a strong interest in enlarging the U.S.-Canada agreement.

After four years of tripartite negotiations, the expanded North American Free Trade ...

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