COMMON MARKET IS MORE FAR-REACHING THAN NORTH AMERICAN FREE-TRADE PACT

COMMON MARKET IS MORE FAR-REACHING THAN NORTH AMERICAN FREE-TRADE PACT

The European Community is often seen as a role model for the North American free-trade agreement.

In fact, the threat of commercial competition from a united European trade bloc is one motivating force behind the accord that would create a free-trade zone encompassing Canada, the United States and Mexico.But the differences between the free-trade agreement and the Common Market are substantial:

* The Common Market abolished most duties on trade among its members, while requiring members to impose uniform duties on imports from outside the EC.

Nafta will require member nations to eventually adopt uniform import duties on each other's goods. But it allows them to set their own duties on products imported from outside the three countries.

* The EC requires members to harmonize all future laws and accept, in their own lands, whatever other member nations have accepted for themselves. Milk certified as healthy in one country, for example, must be allowed without further checks into all other EC nations.

Nafta nations have made no broad-scale commitment to harmonize all future laws or accept each other's standards, official certificates or university diplomas.

* The EC was created with a political vision: an attempt to bind the countries of Europe so closely together that they would never again fight as they did during World War I and World War II.

Nafta is essentially a business agreement, intended only to increase trade among the member states.