Journal Article

Is NAFTA economic integration?


Abstract: Most economists agree that trade liberalization raises incomes and living standards. To achieve trade liberalization, though, countries must sometimes first reach trade agreements. And trade agreements, as William Gruben and John Welch observe, may intertwine elements of both liberalization and protectionism. As an example, Gruben and Welch examine the negotiation process that preceded passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. ; Is NAFTA economic integration? Although some authors think so, Gruben and Welch believe that interpreting NAFTA purely as economic integration is misleading. A more useful way to interpret NAFTA, they claim, is to start by recognizing it as the latest synthesis of an ongoing conflict between those who support trade liberalization and those who want trade protectionism. NAFTA offers broad-based trade openings, but it still contains restrictively protectionist components. In considering the efforts of trade liberalization advocates and trade protectionists, the authors also attempt to show how members of these pressure groups form alliances, disguise their efforts, and otherwise attempt to achieve their goals.

Keywords: North American Free Trade Agreement;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Part of Series: Economic and Financial Policy Review

Publication Date: 1994

Issue: Q II

Pages: 35-51