North American Process

Intent, Reality and Future of the North American Free Trade Agreement

The Fourth Annual North American Process Symposium

October 5 - 7, 2017
Puebla, Mexico

The School of Public Policy and the Canadian Global Affairs Institute at the University of Calgary, the School of Global Studies at Universidad Anáhuac México, the College of Public Service and Community Solutions and the Morrison Institute at Arizona State University joined together to discuss the past, present, and future implications of the North American Free Trade Agreement. This conference brought together policymakers, professors, practitioners and government officials from Canada, Mexico, and the United States to address NAFTA’s impact, present and future challenges, and policy improvements to cope with the externalities associated with free trade. 

Political rhetoric casts a long shadow over the direction of free trade in North America and there is a clear need to address potential roadblocks in the way of free trade between NAFTA partners. What was the original intent of NAFTA? Where do our shared interests exist? Should NAFTA be improved, and if so, where should we start? How do we encourage regional growth while simultaneously supporting those left behind by globalization? This symposium played a key role in initiating dialogue around global competition for trade, immigration policies, and energy efficiency in North America, and it addressed how to best communicate the benefits of free trade to the public.

Discussions at the previous three symposia have made it clear that business is leading the way to a more integrated and efficient North America. Participants at the fourth annual North American Process Symposium discussed how a more efficient, resourceful, and competitive North America could be developed with valuable insights from policy makers, businesses, and academicians. These combined insights contribute to recommendations for the improvement of NAFTA, and the refinement of the policies surrounding the ramifications of free trade.

Through a series of working groups and plenary sessions, attendees developed specific recommendations concerning NAFTA. The working groups focused on the North American Free Trade Agreement and its impact on trade, energy, and legal immigration. This event resulted in specific and realistic recommendations on ways to improve NAFTA so that North American leaders can make informed decisions about the future of North American trade policy.