The full text of the agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada is available here. The second parallel agreement is the North American Environmental Cooperation Agreement (NAAEC), which established the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) in 1994. The CEC is responsible for strengthening regional cooperation in the environmental field, reducing potential trade and environmental conflicts and promoting effective enforcement of environmental legislation. It also facilitates public cooperation and participation in efforts to promote conservation, protection and improvement of the North American environment. It consists of three main components: the Council (Minister of the Environment), the Joint Advisory Committee of Governments (JPAC) and the Secretariat, which is headquartered in Montreal. It has an annual budget of $9 million, with Canada, Mexico and the United States contributing $3 million per year and settled by consensus (non-majority). U.S. Department of Commerce. Bureau of Census, foreign trade statistics. “New data updates 2005.” Available at

Appeal on April 17, 2006. Some small businesses have been directly affected by NAFTA. In the past, large firms have always had an advantage over small businesses, as large firms could afford to build and maintain offices and/or production sites in Mexico, which avoided many of the old trade restrictions on exports. In addition, pre-NAFTA legislation provided that U.S. service providers who wanted to do business in Mexico had to establish a physical presence there, which was simply too expensive for small businesses. Small businesses were stuck, they could not afford to build, and they could not afford export tariffs either. NAFTA eliminated the competitive conditions by giving small businesses the opportunity to export to Mexico at the same costs as larger firms and removing the requirement that a company establish a physical presence in Mexico to do business there. The lifting of these restrictions meant that large new markets were suddenly open to small businesses that had previously done business only in the United States. This was considered particularly important for small businesses that produced goods or services that had matured in the U.S. markets.

It is impossible to isolate the effects of NAFTA in the larger economy. It is difficult, for example, to say with certainty what percentage of the current United States.