North American Free Trade Agreement
Labor representatives have criticized NAFTA, claiming the agreement has led to numerous jobs lost in the United States because industries have moved plants to Mexico (see maquiladoras); NAFTA proponents point to the U.S. jobs created because of increased imports by Mexico and Canada. The agreement has negatively affected the economies of several Caribbean countries whose exports to the United States now compete with duty-free Mexican exports. The agreement was a significant issue in the U.S. elections of 1992, in which third-party presidential candidate and NAFTA opponent Ross Perot won 19% of the vote, and 2016, during and following which successful Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for its renegotiation or abandonment. In 2018 the Trump administration negotiated agreements with Mexico and Canada that modified some aspects of NAFTA and also updated it; it was renamed the United States–Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Additional changes were agreed to secure ratification by the U.S. Congress in Jan., 2020. The agreement took effect in July, 2020.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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