NAFTA: A Brief Introduction
On January 1, 1994, history was made when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect. NAFTA is in a sense a Trojan horse, attractive outwardly but filled with a host of unpleasant surprises. In simple terms, NAFTA is a treaty between Canada, Mexico, and the United States to make the transportation of goods, services, and capital across national boundaries more "hassle-free". Sounds perfect until you take a closer look. NAFTA promises a lot of benefits but these benefits come at a high price. The truth about NAFTA is that it is a clever deception.
One of the results of NAFTA is that
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It's a "trade agreement from hell," according to the consumer group Public Citizen. Corporations can now use the NAFTA treaty to overturn unfavorable laws in other countries. Under NAFTA, a country's individual laws are superceded by the rules of NAFTA. For instance, a government may forbid the sale of apples treated with pesticides within their country, but a particular company wants to sell pesticide treated apples in that country. If the government prevents the company from selling their product, in this case pesticide treated apples, the company can bring suit against the country. Under the rules of NAFTA, the company would probably win. Laws passed to protect the public from harmful products are seen as a hassle and sadly must to be eliminated to provide "hassle-free" trade. It would seem that NAFTA could be a win-win situation if there were more controls in the area of safety. To improve the treaty without abolishing it, measures to increase border control, prevent job losses, and control pollution and contamination of products could be instituted. The problem is the profit and bottom line. Greedy businesses do not want to be creative and find ways to realize profits and still maintain quality and safety. The sad part is the government I allows it to go on.
Do we really want easier trade over democracy? NAFTA has proven its ability to increase trade among countries but at what cost? The down side of NAFTA is job