When the U.S., Canada and Mexico implemented the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, it opened the door for open trade by ending tariffs on various goods and services and creating an even playing field for the three markets. Today, agricultural goods such as eggs, corn and meats; manufactured products such as auto parts; and raw materials such as steel and lumber flow freely across the borders, primarily by truck and rail.
The U.S. exported more than $280 billion in goods to Canada in 2011, making its northern neighbor the largest source for outgoing products. U.S. imports, at more than $315 billion, make Canada the second-largest source of inbound goods after China.
Exports to and imports from Mexico set record highs in 2011, with exports reaching $198.4 billion and imports hitting $262.9 billion.
The combined $1.1 trillion in combined trade among the three partners make NAFTA the second-largest trade bloc in the world, second only to the 27-member European Union.
News & Analysis
When Mexico this month announced an initiative to boost security on its highways, it was the latest step on the country’s road to becoming a world-class manufacturer. But it also served as the latest acknowledgement that to do so, it must raise security where it is so sorely lacking.