When the U.S., Canada and Mexico implemented the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, it opened the door for open trade by ending tariffs on various goods and services and creating an even playing field for the three markets. Today, agricultural goods such as eggs, corn and meats; manufactured products such as auto parts; and raw materials such as steel and lumber flow freely across the borders, primarily by truck and rail.

The U.S. exported more than $280 billion in goods to Canada in 2011, making its northern neighbor the largest source for outgoing products.  U.S. imports, at more than $315 billion, make Canada the second-largest source of inbound goods after China.

Exports to and imports from Mexico set record highs in 2011, with exports reaching $198.4 billion and imports hitting $262.9 billion.

The combined $1.1 trillion in combined trade among the three partners make NAFTA the second-largest trade bloc in the world, second only to the 27-member European Union.

News & Analysis

Truck with Project 21 decal.
18 Apr 2014
EL PASO, Texas — The trucks here crossing the border from Juarez, Mexico, with “Project 21” decals are cleared by U.S. and Mexican customs agents faster than those trucks without the sticker, allowing drivers to get their goods from Mexican factories to U.S. customers faster.

Commentary

The ‘giant sucking sound’ of jobs moving south that Ross Perot so famously forecast would be NAFTA’s calling card isn’t the case at all 20 years after the agreement was enacted.