Assessing NAFTA: A Trinational Analysis

Description

314 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
$19.95
ISBN 0-88975-156-0
DDC 382'.71'097

Year

1993

Contributor

Edited by Steven Globerman and Michael Walker
Reviewed by Graeme S. Mount

Graeme S. Mount is a history professor at Laurentian University and
author of Canada’s Enemies: Spies and Spying in the Peaceable Kingdom.

Review

This is a polemic in defence of NAFTA, and one does not have to read
more than a few lines to appreciate its tone. In the very first
paragraph of the introduction, the editors label protectionism
“insidious” and argue that the beneficiaries of protectionism are
people who are “highly motivated by substantial gains,” and who
successfully identify their own interest with the national interest.
Most people are “victims” of protectionism because of the
artificially high prices they must pay for goods and services. The
thesis of the book, sustained by each of the contributors, is that the
Canada–U.S. Free Trade Agreement has been good and that NAFTA will be
even better. For balance, one would have to read something by Maud
Barlow.

The editors appear to have selected their contributors carefully.
Sidney Weintraub finds NAFTA good for the United States and says that
any negative consequences would have happened with or without the
agreement. Leonard Waverman finds it good for Canada, and Rogelio
Ramirez De la O reaches a similar verdict on Mexico. Jon R. Johnson
thinks that NAFTA will do for Mexico what the 1965 Auto Pact did for
Canada. Eric Barry and Elizabeth Siwicki see for the textile industry
(once NAFTA is in place) even happier consequences than the ones brought
about by the Canada–U.S. Free Trade Agreement. A major regret for
Thomas Grennes is that NAFTA allows 15 long years for the transition to
unrestricted free trade in agriculture. In contrast to those Canadians
who fear that Brian Mulroney removed Canada’s right to look after its
own energy needs in a crisis, G.C. Watkins argues that NAFTA has given
Canada (but not Mexico) the right to export energy to the United States.
Steven Globerman thinks that environmental laws as actually enforced
seldom influence decisions about location. Others present similar
arguments.

If events prove the contributors right, North Americans will no doubt
be grateful to them and the people they influenced. If their optimism is
excessive, future readers may question their motives as well as their
judgment.

Citation

“Assessing NAFTA: A Trinational Analysis,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 12, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/13285.