Overview of NAFTA

Source: Information Trade Center, U.S. Department of Commerce

Implemented on January 1, 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), is a comprehensive trade agreement that improves virtually all aspects of doing business within North America. NAFTA eliminates nearly all tariffs by 2008 between the U.S. and Mexico by 1998 between the U.S. and Canada, and removes many of the non-tariff barriers, such as import licenses, that have helped to exclude U.S. goods from the other two markets, especially Mexico.

NAFTA ensures that investment will not be coerced by restrictive government policies, that U.S. investors receive treatment equal to domestic investors in Mexico and Canada. At the same time, NAFTA's extensive easing of cross-border services rules ensures that if U.S. companies do not wish to invest in another country to provide their service, they do not have to.

The best intellectual property provisions ever negotiated by the United States ensure that the U.S. competitive advantage in high technology is fully protected. NAFTA provides for guaranteed access to lucrative government procurement contracts in Canada and Mexico.