North American 
Free Trade Agreement
changes last made to this page 2015 June 22
see also
NAFTA in 2015 necessarily means understanding Mexico in 2015

An interesting indication of the advancement of the Mexican economy is the news that the richest man in the world 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 was Carlos Slim
In 2015 his wealth is estimated at
$USD 71 Billion

Shown in the pic to the left with student Flores Chahue - student in MRK460 at Seneca in March 2015 - from a pic posted on her Facebook page

.MAIN DFAIT NAFTA link for 2015
Canada's State of Trade 2013
Rick Cameron and Jean-Bosco Sabuhoro were the principal authors.
On the website of the federal government's dept. of Industry Canada, you can find an informative PDF's document which describes Canada's trade performance. This material is dated 2008 - which means it is referring to events in 2007
 You are recommended to go to the website and read the initial sections of this report so that you may have a general understanding of the Canada's trade performance, and some information which will update you on the most current trade relationship between Canada and the U.S.A.  (link still works in June 2009)

from stats from Statistics Canada

from CanadExport "Facts & Figures" for 2007

NAFTA 2006

In the later years of the 1990's it appeared that NAFTA was responsible for Canada doing more and more trade with the U.S. - and therefore increasing our vulnerability to swings in the U.S. economy and reducing our business with the ROW (rest of the world).

However, as the U.S. economy began to slow in the "Bush" administration, Canadian companies have sought more business with the rest of the world, which is reflected in an updated chart showing Canadian exports to the U.S. NAFTA 2001

The most significant thing about this 2000 chart (which comes from Sydor's Report on Canada's Trade Performance for 2000) is that fact that despite lots of encouragement from federal and provincial governments for Canadian exporters to seek out markets in Asia, Europe and Latin America - we still do more than 87% of our business with the U.S.

Mexico - highly touted as an opportunity for us in 2001 and beyond, is the tiny slice of green in the chart to the left.

How it was


How it is


since 2001, we have done much better diversifying away from exporting mostly to the U.S. and are improving our exports to Asia-Pacific and Europe

data comes from Stats Canada

and dispute settlements
Prof. John Kirton at University of Toronto, St. George campus
has written widely on various NAFTA topics
"NAFTA Dispute Settlement Mechanisms: An Overview." Paper prepared for an experts workshop on "NAFTA and Its Implications for ASEAN's Free Trade Area," Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto 
 "NAFTA for the Next Generation: Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead." Paper prepared for a workshop on "Regionalism in the 21st Century 
 "Canada's Commission for Environmental Cooperation and the Management of Relations with the United States". Paper prepared for the conference on "The Canada-United States Relationship: Convergence or Divergence,"sponsored by the Center for the Study of Canada, Plattsburgh State University of New York and the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, Plattsburgh, New York May 28th, 2004. 

"Canada Must Rethink Trade Ties With Mexico2001
David Crane   2001 June 26
David Crane is The Star's Economics Editor
His column frequently contains articles on international business and economic issues and previous articles he has written are available on The Star's website. 

. Crane writes this article to provoke readers into appreciating the growing competitiveness of Mexico, (while Canada's continued trade with the U.S. has not been too hot) at the same time encouraging us to think of an improved Mexican economy not as a threat to our U.S. customers, but as a bigger market for us.

Mr. Crane is an exceptionally good researcher and writer - he travels often and has good personal knowledge of many int'l business issues. International business students are encouraged to read his columns on a regular basis.


Crane begins by stating that "Despite the North American Free Trade Agreement, there's something of a disconnect between Canada and Mexico. Both countries are obsessed with their relationship with the United States, but pay much less attention to one another."

"Canada-Mexico trade represents less than 1 per cent of total North American trade flows."

. U.S. ~ Canada trade - very large, and stable
U.S. ~ Mexico trade - large, and growing fast
Canada ~ Mexico trade - very small, and not growing fast


Crane adds "Mexico has become much more competitive, especially in the motor vehicle, electrical and electronics and machinery industries and is poised to become  more of a competitor to Canada in the U.S. market. Moreover, while Canada's share of U.S. manufacturing imports has remained flat, Mexico's share has risen sharply. Canada's share of U.S. imports has remained just under 20 per cent in the 1990s but Mexico's share increased  from 6 per cent in 1990 to 10.7 per cent in 1999."
. Like all good business journalists, Mr. Crane keeps in regular contact with business leaders and government personnel to ascertain their opinion on particular trends. For this story in Mexico, he uses material from Aaron Sydor and Gary Sawchuk of Industry Canada.


"With Mexican exports growing at almost 16 per cent a year in the 1990s, compared to 9 per cent a year for Canada, it's easy to see why trade analysts expect at some point in the  future that Mexico will eventually replace Canada as the Number 1 trading partner of the United States."

FYI - using a search engine, it is possible to find many references on the web to the activities of  Aaron Sydor and Gary Sawchuk in conferences and speeches about Canadian internationl business, particular related to competitiveness issues
one ppt by Sydor is at
Sydor works in the Micro-Economic Policy Analysis Branch, Industry Canada

Following on the article by David Crane about Mexico, we will also refer to a Canadian Press piece done in July 2001 (and carried in the Toronto Star) about Mexico becoming a stronger trade rival for Canada's business with the U.S. 
. The article put together by the Canadian Press was based on a report written by Scotiabank senior economist,  Adrienne Warren for the NAFTA Quarterly


Mexico looms as trading rival, bank says
"May soon surpass Canada as top U.S. trading partner, Scotiabank suggests"

Warren says "Over the past decade, Mexico has been able to build upon its favourable production and cost position to capture a larger share of the important U.S. market"

'While Canada maintained a stable 19 per cent share of U.S. imports in the 1990s - retaining its status as the United States' chief trading partner - Mexico's share has almost doubled to 11 per cent,'' Warren is quoted by Canadian Press as saying, adding ''If current trends persist, within a decade Mexico could surpass Canada as the United States' largest trading partner.''

Warren explains that "that over the next few years rising protectionist sentiments and trade frictions will pose a growing challenge for all three NAFTA nations. These destabilizing pressures, often relatively muted in boom times, tend to be heightened in periods of slowing economic growth."

some of the American govt NAFTA sites U.S. govt NAFTA site
NAFTA and the populace using Google, Prof. Richardson searched using the phrase
"NAFTA is great" - 34 hits
"NAFTA is good" - 243 hits
"NAFTA sucks" - 101 hits
- not very scientific but it suggests strong opinions on both sides