What Is It? NAFTA is a free trade agreement (FTA) among the United States, Canada, and Mexico that entered into force on January 1, 1994 (P.L. 103-182). All three partners are currently in negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed comprehensive and high standard FTA among 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, which could alter certain NAFTA provisions. NAFTA continues to be of interest to Congress because of the strong U.S. trade and investment ties with Canada and Mexico, and because of its significance for U.S. trade policy. At the time it was negotiated, NAFTA was unusual in global terms because it was the first time that a U.S. FTA linked two advanced economies with a developing country. For this reason, the agreement sparked debate among policy makers, industries, agriculture producers, labor unions, nongovernment organizations, and academics about its potential benefits and costs. NAFTA-implementing legislation included revisions to the U.S. trade adjustment assistance program to address production shifts and assist dislocated workers.
Date of Report: January 15, 2015
Order Number: IF10047
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