The free trade agreement was concluded in 1988 and NAFTA extended most of the provisions of the free trade agreement to Mexico. NAFTA was negotiated by the governments of U.S. President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican Prime Minister Carlos Salinas de Gortari. An interim agreement on the pact was reached in August 1992 and signed by the three heads of state and government on 17 December. NAFTA was ratified by the national parliaments of the three countries in 1993 and came into force on January 1, 1994. Supporters have capped NAFTA because it has opened up Mexican markets to U.S. companies like never before. The Mexican market is growing rapidly, which promises more export opportunities, which means more jobs. However, proponents have struggled to convince the American public that NAFTA would do more good than harm.
Their main efforts have been to convince citizens that all consumers have as wide a choice of products at as low a price as possible, which means that consumers would be the main beneficiaries of lowered trade barriers. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents the interests of small businesses, was one of THE most active supporters of NAFTA and organized small and medium-sized business owners and employees to support the agreement. This support was essential to counter the efforts of organized work to put an end to the agreement. Many critics of NAFTA saw the agreement as a radical experiment developed by influential multinationals who wanted to increase their profits at the expense of ordinary citizens of the countries concerned. Opposition groups argued that the horizontal rules imposed by nafta could undermine local governments by preventing them from enacting laws or regulations to protect the public interest. Critics also argued that the treaty would lead to a significant deterioration in environmental and health standards, promote privatization and deregulation of essential public services, and supplant family farmers in the signatory countries. Although NAFTA has not kept all its promises, it has remained in place. Indeed, in 2004, the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) extended NAFTA to five Central American countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua). In the same year, the Dominican Republic joined the group in signing a free trade agreement with the United States, followed by Colombia in 2006, Peru in 2007 and Panama in 2011.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), signed on October 5, 2015, represented an extension of NAFTA to a much larger extent. In addition, many economists argue that recent U.S. production problems have little to do with NAFTA and say that domestic production was under pressure decades before the contract.