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Monday, March 03, 2008

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

The Ohio Primary has brought the North Ameican Free Trade Agreement back into the national spotlight because it is being partially blamed for the loss of jobs in the state. Well it makes us wonder if you know what the agreement really means to you. It is an agreement and not a treaty by the way. NAFTA is the largest trade bloc agreement in the world and it eliminated the majority of tariffs on products traded among the United States, Canada and Mexico. The agreement was signed in 1992 by Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. and went into effect on Jan. 1, 1994 with full implementation beginning January 1, 2008. [U.S. Customs & Border Protection] [NAFTA Secretariat]

The North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) is an environmental agreement that is a supplemental side-treaty of NAFTA signed in 1992 and went into effect at the same time as the main agreement. The agreement consists of a declaration of principles and objectives concerning conservation and the protection of the environment between the three countries. The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) was set up as part of the agreement.

The NAAEC was a response to concerns by environmentalists that the U.S. would lower its standards if the three countries did not achieve consistent environmental regulation. The NAAEC only obligates parties to enforce their own environmental laws. The NAAEC established the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation, a mechanism for addressing trade and environmental issues, the North American Development Bank (NADBank) for assisting and financing investments in pollution reduction, and the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission (BECC). The NADBank and the BECC have provided economic benefits to Mexico by financing 36 projects, mostly in the water sector. (Wikipedia)

Besides the probably false impression that NAFTA has cost Americans jobs, we do not believe it has caused any negative environmental effects. We support free trade. Global warming has not been affected one way or the other by the agreement. Maybe some product issues might be affected in some way, but even that is barely discernable in our opinion. Clearly immigration has not been affected for Mexicans are still flooding into the U.S.

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