In This Review

The Making of NAFTA: How the Deal Was Done
The Making of NAFTA: How the Deal Was Done
By Maxwell A. Cameron and Brian W. Tomlin
Cornell University Press, 2000, 258 pp

Two Canadian political scientists recount with admirable detachment the negotiating history of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Canada sought to retain and extend the benefits it had received from the pre-existing Canada-U.S. free trade area; Mexican President Carlos Salinas sought to lock in his liberalizing economic reforms to prevent recidivism by successors -- and gain additional access to the United States, Mexico's main trading partner. By comparison, the United States was relatively indifferent to the outcome, which gave it a strong bargaining position. But it did desire to reinvigorate through NAFTA the foundering Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations and set precedents for subsequent bilateral negotiations, especially on services liberalization and intellectual-property protection. Although Washington sought to enhance Mexican prosperity, that strategic objective was often lost amid the nuts and bolts of sectoral trade negotiations. This book is a fine account, despite occasional lapses into political science jargon, and is recommended for any country engaging in trade negotiations with the United States. An account of NAFTA has more than historical interest, given George W. Bush's pledge to create a free trade area for the western hemisphere.