The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a comprehensive economic and trade agreement that establishes a free-trade area encompassing the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In May 2017, the U.S. Trade Representative notified the U.S. Congress that the United States plans to renegotiate this agreement. During a 14-year transition period (1994-2008), NAFTA progressively eliminated almost all tariff and quota barriers governing intraregional trade among the three member countries. The agreement also facilitates cross-border investment, requires that sanitary and phytosanitary standards for trade be scientifically based, and expands cooperation on environment and labor issues. A table comparing compares trade-weighted ad valorem tariff rates for U.S. agricultural trade with Canada and Mexico under NAFTA to most Most-Favored Nation (MFN) and WTO-bound tariff rates is available on the Data page.
Recent ERS Publications Relating to NAFTA
ERS conducts research on a variety of topics related to NAFTA, Canada, and Mexico, including issues affecting U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico agricultural trade, specific sectors within Canadian and Mexican agriculture, ideas for furthering the integration of the NAFTA countries’ agricultural sectors, and cross-border transportation issues.
- NAFTA at 20: North America's Free-Trade Area and Its Impact on Agriculture (February 2015) examines the integration of North America’s agricultural and food markets as a result of NAFTA since its implementation in 1994. NAFTA has had a profound effect on many aspects of North American agriculture over the past two decades.
- Opportunities for Making U.S.-Mexico Agricultural Trade More Agile (August 2016) explores ways to facilitate further growth in U.S.-Mexico agricultural trade focusing on the border processes and procedures that govern this trade.
- A New Outlook for the U.S.-Mexico Sugar and Sweetener Market (August 2016) provides extensive background on the economic developments leading up to the agreements suspending the U.S. antidumping and countervailing duty investigations on sugar imports from Mexico.
- ERS Monthly Commodity Outlook Reports provide market analysis and short- and long-term projections of U.S. and world agricultural production, consumption, and trade, including information on Canada and Mexico and their relationship to U.S. markets for exports and imports.
See Readings for a more extensive list of ERS research on NAFTA, Canada, and Mexico.
Relevant ERS Data Products
- Foreign Agricultural Trade of the United States (FATUS) provides U.S. agricultural exports and imports, volume and value, by country (including Canada and Mexico), by commodity, and by calendar year, fiscal year, and month.
- The International Baseline Data contain USDA’s 10-year projections of supply, demand, and trade for major agricultural commodities for selected countries. These projections provide country-level detail—including for Canada and Mexico—in support of the annual USDA long-term agricultural projections.
- The International Macroeconomic Data Set provides data from 1969 through 2020 for real (adjusted for inflation) gross domestic product (GDP), population, real exchange rates, and other variables for the 190 countries and 34 regions that are most important for U.S. agricultural trade.
Relevant USDA Data Products
- Production, Supply, and Distribution (PS&D) contains official USDA data on production, supply, and distribution of agricultural commodities for the United States and major importing and exporting countries, including Canada and Mexico. The database provides projections for the coming year and historical data for more than 200 countries and major crop, livestock, fishery, and forest products.
- The Global Agricultural Trade System, compiled by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, is a database containing detailed U.S. agricultural trade data.