Never before has the United States used such a thorough and competent approach to dealing with foreign trade problems. Never before has the consideration of tariff issues been so free from protocol roles, policy and narrow cutting influences. In the past, professional lobbyists often put pressure on others. There is now an effective, free-to-do way for every trained public servant who has no partisan interest to be heard with care and impartiality. It is the interests of our nation as a whole that, under the new procedure, shape our foreign trade policy. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on January 1, 1989, when it came into force, was between the United States, Canada and Mexico that agreement was to remove customs barriers between the various countries. Many agencies within the government were already working on foreign trade issues. Activities were not limited to the Department of Foreign Affairs. At the Department of Commerce, the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce has been working for years to promote and develop U.S. foreign trade. To this end, it has established a group of highly qualified experts who produce and publish foreign trade statistics, review foreign trade restrictions, prepare foreign trade reports, and provide general support to the United States, which exports domestic and abroad. The Customs Committee, which is responsible for studying the economic and fiscal impact of our customs, maintains another group of economists and commodity experts who prepare studies and investigations into products imported into the United States and the various effects of specific imports on competitive domestic production. At the Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Agricultural Economics continuously reviews agricultural conditions and the resulting trends in external demand for U.S.
agricultural products. The Ministry of Finance, which collects import duties and generally manages our customs laws, is also interested in our foreign trade policy. The WTO continues to classify these agreements as follows: if the decision of the Trade Agreements Committee is in favour of an agreement and the foreign government is in compliance with an agreement, the Minister of Foreign Affairs makes a preliminary announcement that negotiations will be considered to allow anyone interested in that country to offer the import or export products to the Committee on Mutual Information which , in his view, should be included in the proposed negotiations. In support of the development of the proposals, a brief overview of trade between the two countries and a statistical table of the main exports and imports that have been received in this trade are published.