What is the NAFTA Agreement?
The North American Free Trade Agreement, upon establishment, essentially created the world’s largest free trade area. It is an agreement which exists between Canada, the United States and Mexico.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Mexican President Carlos Salinas, and U.S. President George H.W. Bush, came into effect on January 1, 1994.
NAFTA has since generated economic growth and rising standards of living for the people of all three member countries. By strengthening the rules and procedures governing trade and investment throughout the continent, NAFTA has proved to be a solid foundation for building Canada’s prosperity.
The NAFTA superseded the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreements (CUFTA). Negotiations towards the CUFTA began in 1986, and the agreement was in force by January 1, 1989. The two nations agreed to a historic agreement that placed Canada and the United States at the forefront of trade liberalization. By 1994, the NAFTA agreement had not only superseded previous agreements but won national acclaim as the partnership of these three countries led to much-shared prosperity. This prosperity is still enjoyed today.
North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation
The North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation (NAALC) came into effect in January 1994. It is one of two parallel agreements to the North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Commission works in close cooperation with the National Administrative Offices (NAOs) established in each country to implement the Agreement and serve as the national point of contact.
In Canada, the Office for Inter-American Labour Cooperation within the Labour Branch of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada acts as the Canadian NAO. The Canadian NAO also provides for the submission and receipt of public communications (complaints) on labour law matters arising in the territory of another member country and serves as the official review agency in Canada.
North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation
The second parallel agreement is the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), which established the Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC) in 1994. The CEC is mandated to enhance regional environmental cooperation, reduce potential trade and environmental conflicts and promote the effective enforcement of environmental law. It also facilitates cooperation and public participation in efforts to foster conservation, protection and enhancement of the North American environment. It has an annual budget of US$9 million, with Canada, Mexico and the U.S. contributing US$3 million per year.
What impacts does NAFTA have on you?
Due to the existing NAFTA agreement, considerations or exemptions are made for citizens and permanent residents of member countries. For example, for immigration purposes, a citizen or permanent resident of the United States does not require a visitor visa to enter Canada and may remain there for up to 6 months at a time.
Certain other considerations exist for immigration purposes as well, such as work permits under the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA business visitors, to name a couple.
If you are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, contact us so that we may discuss what options are available to you in Canada and how best we can assist you in achieving your goals.