North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
A free trade agreement that comprises Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. The objectives of the Agreement are to eliminate barriers to trade, promote conditions of fair competition, increase investment opportunities, provide protection for intellectual property rights and establish procedures for the resolution of disputes.
NAFTA eliminates all tariffs on goods originating in Canada, Mexico and the United States over a transition period. Rules of origin are necessary to define which goods are eligible for preferential tariff treatment.
NAFTA contains special provisions for market access, customs administration, automotive goods, textiles and apparel, energy and petrochemicals, agriculture, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical standards, emergency action, antidumping and countervailing duty matters, government procurement, trade in services, land transportation, telecommunications, investment, financial services, intellectual property, temporary entry for business persons, dispute settlement, administration of law and the environment.
NAFTA will produce a market exceeding 360 million consumers and a combined output of more than $6 trillion–20 percent larger than the European Community. The agreement took effect January 1, 1994.
The Commerce Department’s Office of NAFTA & Inter-American affairs has its Web site at Web: www.mac.doc.gov/nafta/. This site contains the full text of the treaty, as well as resources, news items, items from the Federal Register, ways to contact this office for assistance, and links to other NAFTA-related sites on the Web. The entire text of NAFTA is also available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Mail Stop: IDCC, 732 N. Capitol Street, NW, Washington, DC 20401; Tel:  (866) 512-1800,  (202) 512-1800; Fax:  (202) 512-2104; Web: www.gpoaccess.gov; or on the National Trade Data Bank on CD-ROM; Tel:  (202) 482-1986.