The objective of NAFTA was to remove barriers to trade and investment between the United States, Canada and Mexico. The introduction of NAFTA on January 1, 1994, resulted in the immediate elimination of tariffs on more than half of Mexico`s exports to the United States and more than one-third of U.S. exports to Mexico. Within 10 years of implementing the agreement, all tariffs between the U.S. and Mexico are expected to be abolished, with the exception of some U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico, which are expected to expire within 15 years. [29] Most of the trade between the United States and Canada was already duty-free. NAFTA also aimed to eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade and protect intellectual property rights in traded goods. In 1984, Congress passed the Trade and Customs Act, which gave the president the power to negotiate free trade agreements. He only allowed Congress to approve or reject, and he could not change the negotiating points. The political divide was particularly wide in terms of views on free trade with Mexico. Contrary to a favorable view of free trade with Canada, which 79 percent of Americans called a fair trading partner, only 47 percent of Americans believed Mexico was doing fair trade. The gap between Democrats and Republicans has widened: 60 percent of Democrats thought Mexico was fair trade, compared to only 28 percent of Republicans.

That was the highest score of Democrats and the lowest score of Republicans ever recorded by the Chicago Council Survey. The Republicans had a more negative view of Canada as a fair trading partner than the Democrats. [160] The objective of the North American Free Trade Agreement is to reduce trade costs, increase business investment and help North America become more competitive in the global marketplace. Although NAFTA did not keep its promises, it remained in force. In fact, in 2004, the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) extended NAFTA to five Central American countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua). In the same year, the Dominican Republic joined the group by signing a free trade agreement with the United States, followed by Colombia in 2006, Peru in 2007 and Panama in 2011. According to many experts, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), signed on October 5, 2015, represented an extension of NAFTA on a much larger scale. In addition, all three countries have seen an increase in trade, economic growth and wages since the adoption of NAFTA in 1994, but whether this is the result of NAFTA remains a question for experts.

In fact, a 2010 report by the Congressional Research Service stated that “most studies conducted under NAFTA have found that the impact on the Mexican economy has been at most modest.” What is clear is that NAFTA is still a flash in the air for political views on globalization and free trade in general. Opposition to NAFTA has grown and made it much more politically difficult to implement other similar free trade agreements. This was clearly demonstrated in the summer of 2005, when the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) stagnated in Congress due to a lack of support. Two journalists, Dawn Gilbertson and Jonathan J. Higuera, who wrote in the Republic of Arizona on the occasion of NAFTA`s tenth anniversary, summed it up this way: “The reality of 10-year-old NAFTA is this: an ever-changing story of winners and losers, largely separated by where you work and what you do.” The same goes for the impact of NAFTA on small businesses. For some, it was a chance to grow and for others a challenge to overcome. .