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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 4, 2001
President George W. Bush
April 22, 2001
NAFTA implementation began seven years ago, creating the worlds largest free trade area. The agreement now links the U.S., Canada and Mexicos 406 million people, producing more than $11 trillion worth of goods and services.
NAFTA has enabled Mexico and the U.S. to establish a solid, dynamic trading partnership. Mexico is our second largest trading partner, with an average of $650 million in goods crossing the border each day. Total trade between the U.S. and Mexico was $261 billion in 2000, three times the 1993 pre-NAFTA average. U.S. foreign direct investment in Mexico in 2000 was $8.9 billion, and is expected to be significantly higher in 2001. As our business cycles converge, both countries have had sharp slowdowns in economic growth in 2001. Despite this, trade between us remains strong, at $99 billion for the first five months of 2001.
While trade relations are strong, there are inevitable disagreements. NAFTA's dispute resolution process provides mechanisms for citizens and governments to raise questions regarding failure to enforce NAFTA's trade, environmental and labor laws. U.S. investors have brought nine claims to dispute settlement, with a settlement or award so far in five.
Several issues have proved contentious. We remain committed to resolving those disputes through open and frank negotiations. The administration has pledged to work with Congress to see that the U.S. fulfills our international obligations under NAFTA while ensuring U.S. labor and environmental standards.
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