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NAFTA and the Environment: Seven Years Later

Author

Listed:
  • Gary Clyde Hufbauer

    (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

  • Daniel C. Esty

    (Yale University)

  • Diana Orejas

    (Institute for International Economics Author -Name: Luis Rubio
    Institute for International Economics Author -Name: Jeffrey J. Schott
    Peterson Institute for International Economics)

Abstract

Air and water pollution blighted northern Mexican cities long before the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was a glimmer on the political horizon. Not surprisingly, when NAFTA became a political reality, environmentalists argued that commercial competition would weaken environmental standards in Canada and the United States and industrial growth in Mexico would further damage its weak environmental infrastructure. NAFTA's huge success in expanding free trade has concentrated population and environmental abuse at the US-Mexico border where it is most visible to Americans. Many environmental groups blame NAFTA and, drawing on its experience, now oppose new trade initiatives.Does the NAFTA record on the environment since 1994 justify its criticism? In this seven-year analysis, the authors review NAFTA's environmental provisions, including a side accord--the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), the situation at the US-Mexican border, and the trends in North American environmental policy. They emphasize that the environmental problems of North America were not the result of NAFTA and the NAAEC was not devised to address all of them. The authors recommend ways to better NAFTA's environmental dimension in all three countries, and improve living conditions where economic growth is greatest--at the US-Mexican border. It makes more sense to tackle the shortcomings than to lament NAFTA and the economic growth it promotes.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Daniel C. Esty & Diana Orejas, 2000. "NAFTA and the Environment: Seven Years Later," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa61.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:ppress:pa61
    Note: Policy Analyses in International Economics 61
    as

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    Cited by:

    1. Kevin P. Gallagher, "undated". "01-08 "Is NACEC a Model Trade and Environment Institution? Lessons from Mexican Industry"," GDAE Working Papers 01-08, GDAE, Tufts University.
    2. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2003. "The Environment and Globalization," NBER Working Papers 10090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Sikina Jinnah & Abby Lindsay, 2016. "Diffusion Through Issue Linkage: Environmental Norms in US Trade Agreements," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 16(3), pages 41-61, August.
    4. Colyer, Dale, 2003. "Agriculture and Environmental Issues in Free Trade Agreements," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 4(2).
    5. Margolis, Michael & Shogren, Jason F. & Fischer, Carolyn, 2005. "How trade politics affect invasive species control," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 305-313, February.
    6. Frankel, Jeffrey A., 2009. "Environmental Effects of International Trade," Scholarly Articles 4481652, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    7. Cherniwchan, Jevan, 2017. "Trade liberalization and the environment: Evidence from NAFTA and U.S. manufacturing," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 130-149.
    8. Pauline Abetti, 2008. "Congressional voting on DR-CAFTA: the ineffectiveness of environmental lobbying," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 11-20.
    9. Murray G Smith, 2011. "The North American Free Trade Agreement: Fait Accompli?," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Integration, Volume I, chapter 15 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Cole, Matthew A., 2004. "US environmental load displacement: examining consumption, regulations and the role of NAFTA," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 439-450, April.
    11. Gamper-Rabindran, Shanti, 2006. "NAFTA and the Environment: What Can the Data Tell Us?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(3), pages 605-633, April.
    12. Leonardo Baccini & Johannes Urpelainen, 2014. "Before ratification: understanding the timing of international treaty effects on domestic policies," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 50278, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    13. Daniel C. Esty, 2001. "Bridging the Trade-Environment Divide," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 113-130, Summer.

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