On January 1, 1994, a landmark free-trade agreement known as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Canada and Mexico took effect. One of the main objectives of the free-trade agreement was to eliminate tariff barriers, as well as non-tariff barriers, on goods and services within 15 years. NAFTA created the world’s largest free-trade region, which now links 444 million people producing $17 trillion worth of goods and services.
On April 22–25, industry and government leaders gathered in Chicago for the NAFTANEXT Summit to discuss the challenges and opportunities created by increased trade and our freight mobility, energy and sustainability future as a trading continent. This summit broke down silos and explored how transportation, energy and environmental infrastructure can work together in North America.
Juan Villa, program manager of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s (TTI) Mexico City Office presented at the summit and prepared a meta-analysis titled “NAFTA 20 Years After.”
“The meta-data analysis revealed that international border crossings are important elements in the trade and transportation relationship between the United States, Mexico and Canada,” said Villa. “TTI has done a lot of research in this area in an attempt to make the border crossings more efficient. I think our contributions were good in providing important recommendations and comments on how to solve these issues.”
The meta-analysis Villa prepared for the summit summarized 20 years of NAFTA-related research categorized by trade, environment, NAFTA integration and competitiveness findings, and energy.
“The document was well received by the participants,” said Villa. “One of the important things we found was that not only has trade between the United States and its NAFTA partners grown, but the value of trade has increased. For example, the value to weight ratio of U.S. imports from Mexico has more than doubled between 2004 and 2013, reflecting the growth of advanced industries in the region. ”