There is no definitive evidence illustrating NAFTA’s impact on the U.S. job market, though the debate over whether the agreement has helped or hurt the U.S. economy has been around since its implementation in the early 1990s. The lack of decisive evidence is due to the fact that both sides of the debate provide numbers to support their arguments that are at best estimates given the complexities of the economy and shortfalls in modeling.
The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign has brought renewed focus on the agreement and evolved the debate from whether it hurts jobs to what extent it should be changed to protect U.S. jobs. The Mexican government has already responded, saying it would be open to possible renegotiations and has presented some preliminary ideas on what that may entail. NAFTA’s geopolitical relevance goes beyond domestic U.S. politics in that the agreement’s future will also impact two growing global trends: the nation-state reasserting itself and the expo