Lessons from NAFTA
Daniel Lederman William F. Maloney Luis Serven
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Aimed at providing guidance to Latin American and Caribbean countries on what to expect from free trade agreements (FTAs), Lessons from NAFTA identifies policies ¿ both in terms of measures that countries can take unilaterally and those that could be negotiated with FTA partners ¿ that can help them derive the maximum benefits from trade integration in the Americas.
Although the report estimates that without NAFTA, global exports would have been roughly 25 percent lower; Foreign Direct Investment around 40% less, and Mexico¿s $5,920 per capita income in 2002 would have been 4-5 percent lower, Mexico has yet to achieve economic convergence with Canada and the United States. The report concludes that Mexico¿s deficiencies in education and research and development have limited the power of NAFTA to enable the country to reach the level of technological progress of the United States or even of countries such as Korea.
Lessons from NAFTA recommends reforms that promote macroeconomic stability, improve institutions and investment climate, and build educational and innovation systems that foster technological and productivity growth. Finally, the report argues that NAFTA would be more effective with certain modifications¿allowed by the agreement itself¿in the areas of rules of origin to allow certain Mexican industries, like textiles and apparel, to enter the United States easier, as well as certain changes to unfair trade practices related to antidumping and countervailing duties.
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