Financial Times, 4/1/2009
Imagine you have a Mexican factory with ambitious plans to export merchandise to the US. The investments have been made, the workers have been hired and, before long, a steady stream of trucks will be pulling out of your factory gates headed across the border, right?
Wrong. Nafta, the trade agreement binding Canada, the US and Mexico, may have come into force 15 years ago but a typical road-freight journey involves at least three trucks: one from the factory in Mexico to a depot near the border; a second to haul the goods to another depot on the US side; and a third to deliver the products to their final destination. The process is the same from the US to Mexico.
By this measure, at least, Nafta has fallen far short of bringing about the seamless flow of goods across an increasingly invisible border that the pact’s creators envisaged.