President Ronald Reagan had raised the idea of a free trade agreement with Mexico in the 1980s – when trade between the two countries was high-intensity, but often limited – but it never worked. Then a debt crisis changed its mind in the middle of this decade. “It has led Latin America to adopt a market-oriented policy and abandon a long-standing strategy to promote local industries,” says Cameron. Moreover, he adds, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, then president of Mexico, who won the presidency in 1988 in an election that some considered fraudulent, had reason to show that he had earned the post. NAFTA was part of his attempt to “legitimize his presidency by announcing that Mexico is essentially a first world member, by signing a free trade agreement with the United States.” “There were two issues considered “too hot” in the NAFTA negotiations. They were always in people`s background, but it was pretty clear that they couldn`t be involved in the negotiations because they were too controversial, and that was: workflows and drugs,” he says. Everyone knew that if you opened the border and crossed thousands of trucks every day, you would open the market to illicit goods. Salinas said NAFTA would provide enough jobs for Mexicans to earn good incomes and not have to travel to the United States [to work]. He would say, “We want to export goods, not people” and “We want trade, not help.” But wages have not risen enough to stem the influx of migrants.

In 1985, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney agreed to begin talks for the United States. Free trade agreement. Negotiations began in 1986 and were signed in 1988. It came into force on January 1, 1989 and remained in effect until it was replaced by NAFTA. Shortly after his election, U.S. President Donald Trump said he would begin renegotiating NAFTA terms to resolve trade issues for which he campaigned. The heads of state and government of Canada and Mexico have expressed their willingness to cooperate with the Trump administration. [129] Although he vaguely formulated the precise terms he wants in a renegotiated NAFTA, Trump has threatened to withdraw from it if negotiations fail. [130] Methanex Corporation, a Canadian company, sued the United States for $970 million.