Essay by ZildjianCollege, UndergraduateA+, February 2005

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        At the end of my studies, I intend on working in the international business field. In addition to that, I aspire to get deeply involved in US and international politics. Thus, I think that NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) will greatly influence my goals. Having lived in both Canada and the United States, I am very aware of the importance of Free Trade between these two countries.

        To begin with, NAFTA is more than simply a piece of US legislation or a constitutional amendment. It is an agreement between three nations (Canada, United States and Mexico) that helps fluent trade, regulates it and resolves conflicts. In a way, it serves the same purpose as the World Trade Organization (which is between all countries willing to join), except it is limited to North America.

        Negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement officially began June 12th, 1991. The final agreement was signed on December 17th by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney of Canada, President Carlos Salinas de Gortari of Mexico and President George H.

W. Bush of the United States. The NAFTA side agreements regarding environmental and labor issues were signed on September 14th, 1993. NAFTA became functional on January 1st, 1994, after an outstanding political victory from President Bill Clinton.

        The main objectives of the agreement were the following:

        Eliminate barriers to trade in goods and services and facilitate their movement between Canada, the United States and Mexico.

        Promote conditions of fair competition within the free trade zone.

        Substantially increase investment opportunities in all three territories.

        Provide adequate and effective means of protection and enforcement of intellectual property within the involved territories.

        Establish effective procedures for the application and implementation of this Agreement, for its joint administration and for the resolution of trade disputes.

        Establish a framework for further regional,