The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) creates a free trade zone that stretches from the Yukon to the Yucatan, encompassing Mexico, Canada and the United States. The NAFTA has been touted as creating a US$6 trillion market made up of some 360 million consumers — the world’s largest.
While these numbers were the primary driving force behind the agreement, the NAFTA’s importance is not limited solely to the size of its market or the number of its consumers. As the first major free trade agreement adopted after the recent attention to the integration of trade and environmental policies, the NAFTA, and the process by which it was negotiated, provide many valuable lessons for future trade agreements and other efforts that will address trade and environment. This paper summarizes these lessons. Part II discusses the process of the NAFTA’s creation. Part III discusses the substantive environmental issues related to the NAFTA.