Border Views: Hufbauer and Schott’s NAFTA Revisited & Propelling the North American Project

Have we found the right “combination of economic and security initiatives that will spur political leaders…into action”? 

What forces will catalyze political leaders to move the North American project forward?  In the early 1960s, the political impetus for governmental action came from US and Canadian automakers.  In the 1980s, Canadian business leaders promoted the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA).  In 1990, Mexican President Carlos Salinas dared the United States to accept Mexico as an FTA partner and convinced Canada to join the ensuing trade negotiations.  The impetus in 2005 comes from the push for border security.  The NAFTA partners must work more closely together now for two reasons:  first, to prevent terror attacks, and, second, in case of additional terrorist attacks down the road, to be less disposed to respond with knee-jerk actions that disrupt goods and people moving across borders and thereby spawn enduring political acrimony.  But preemptive preparations need economic fuel as well.  The key is to find the right combination of economic and security initiatives that will spur political leaders of all three countries into action. 

NAFTA Revisited:  Achievements and Challenges, Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Jeffrey J. Schott, 2005, page 470-71.

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