December 8, 1993. Bill Clinton’s signature makes NAFTA law. The agreement comes into effect three weeks later, on January 1, 1994 (United States Trade Representative). Since then, NAFTA’s impacts have made massive changes to Canada. There were many impacts, but some of the most relevant are Canada being on an equal playing field with the other big North American nations, the continuous shift in Canada’s culture, and the large economic growth. Due to these impacts that have shaped Canada over the past 24 years, it’s important to remember NAFTA throughout the future. This, is why a memorial would appropriate.
The North American Free Trade Agreement is a multilateral trade agreement between Mexico America and Canada. Made to dissolve trade barriers between the nations, this agreement allowed each nations businesses and economies to take advantage of what each other offered (Canadian Encyclopedia-NAFTA). An important part about this trade agreement is that it is multilateral, and not bilateral. What this means is that there are more than two countries involved. A bilateral trade agreement is more of a trade partnership between nations, meaning multilateral agreements are much larger. NAFTA is one of the world’s largest free trade zones, and allows Mexico, the USA, and Canada to operate more like a single country. (NAFTAnow.org) This gave Canada much more power and made it more attractive to businesses as apart of this free trade zone.
NAFTA did have some concerns, however. A result of having a relationship such as the one Canada has with America, is the more powerful country having a major cultural influence on the other country. So when Canada’s main trade partner became America, Canadian culture became more American (Nelson, page 136). Canada does benefit from having a trading partner like America, and NAFTA did allow Canada to gain more access to American markets. However, America did as a result gain more access to Canada’s and fill Canada with even more of its goods and services. American influence on Canada has been around for a long time, and while many Canadians have stood against it (Canadian Encyclopedia-Canadian-American Relations), NAFTA made it even easier for Canada to be influenced by American culture. As a result, NAFTA has been a large part of Canada’s cultural change and represents the battle between Canadian culture and American influence.
Cultural influence concerns and equal playing field regarding Canada. These are two major impacts of NAFTA. However, arguably the biggest impact of them all, the one the treaty was made to create, is economic growth. The whole point of dissolving trade barriers and create free trade zone between the three countries was so each country could benefit off each other more easily. Within nine years of NAFTA being made law Canada experienced economic growth of 30.9%, and trade with the USA increased by 250% (Nelson, page 136). By 2015, total merchandise trade made had increased more than three times, summing up to greater than $1 trillion USD (Canadian Encyclopedia-NAFTA). This has benefited Canada greatly.
In the twenty-four years since NAFTA was made law, Canada has changed. Our economy has grown, as well as Mexico’s and America’s. NAFTA has helped these countries work together to make each of them bigger. However, NAFTA also embodies many concerns of what was happening at the time and still to this day, like low wage exploitation and culture influence. Due to the impacts that have shaped and changed Canada, it’s important to remember NAFTA throughout the future. This, is why a memorial would be appropriate.