Donald Trump has called NAFTA the “single worst trade deal in history.” However, I believe that dubious honor should go to the Rus’–Byzantine Treaty between the Byzantine emperorConstantine VII and Igor I of Kiev, concluded in 945 A.D. (Russia really lost bigly on that one.)
NAFTA has been the proverbial whipping boy, a veritable piñata, since its inception in 1994. Despite a slew of highly sophisticated studies carried out by independent economists that clearly show that NAFTA has produced marginal gains and only marginal losses, politicians, ideologues, and pundits of the left and right continue to slam the agreement as the economic equivalent of the bubonic plague.
As of June 2017, there were 279 regional trade agreements in force worldwide. Surely, this would not be the case if these agreements were not deemed mutually beneficial among all parties. A comprehensive study by the U.S. International Trade Commission found that bilateral and regional trade agreements increase both employment and real gross domestic product. The effects are even greater with trade agreements that are specific to individual sectors, such as textiles, automobiles, and agricultural products.
Thanks to NAFTA, Florida has been able to boost exports to Canada and Mexico by more than 173 percent and add 1.6 million net private-sector jobs. Canadian businesses and consumers import between $3 million and $4 billion worth of Florida-origin goods each year, including high-value manufactured products, medical devices, and IT services.
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