Chapter Eleven Law States essay example

716 words
The North American Free Trade Agreement joined the United States, Mexico, and Canada in one of the world's largest free trade zones. Over ten years, tariffs on most products were to be progressively removed. In the five years proceeding, additional tariffs would be eliminated. During the Clinton administration, in 1994, the first of the proposed reductions took place. The opponents of the agreement felt that the union would cause lowered standards in health and environmental control, job loss, and that uniformity would hinder the United States.

Proponents argued that the overall economic benefit for all countries would overshadow the possible ramifications. Environmentalist were opposed to NAFTA because they felt that Chapter Eleven Laws of the agreement would override laws that protected people's health and environment. In part, the Chapter Eleven law states that a foreign company can sue a government over government measures that allegedly limit the value of their investment. Evidence for this argument is clear in the September 2000 case in which a Canadian company sued the United States for one billion dollars because the company could not sell its product due to the state's water protection regulation. Environmental policies were altered for the company. Attempting to harmonize United States health and environmental standards only leads to the degradation of guidelines previously enacted, because to unify with a country like Mexico, which has an extremely low quality of life, the United States must compromise its laws.

As of July 30, 2002 more than four hundred thirteen thousand one hundred and twenty-three United States workers were unemployed due to NAFTA. This, however, only represents a small percentage of total job loss because it is a record of the number of people who qualify for aid under the NAFTA Transitional Adjustment Assistance (NAFTA TAA). This program excludes those who did not know about it, those in the service industry, and those who did not petition the Labor Department. Many of these jobs losses are due to the relocation of companies to Mexico for cheaper labor.

When the relocation occurs, the dynamics of the community they leave changes drastically. Because a significant amount of people are out of work, and can not afford to spend their money on the things they once did, many of the other business will be forced to close. This only results in the loss of more jobs. Uniformity hinders a countries ability to stay at the forefront of technology, growth, and responding to citizen's needs. This argument suggest that if one country is too involved with another, both will not be able to prosper independently. By mandating a unification of the United States with countries that are less advanced, it will only stunt the development of the United States, impeding the general public and government.

Economists, multinational corporations in general, and several key political figures include the majority of proponents of NAFTA. They argue that the benefits of this program supersede all negative aspects. Many of those who lobby for the agreement also site the Heck sher Ohl in Theory, which states that if one nation is capital abundant and another nation is labor abundant, than if these two countries joined together each would benefit most effectively from its most plentiful resources. In theory, because the United States has a large amount of capital and Mexico is rich in labor, the union of the two would create a joint partnership that was mutually beneficial.

In retaliation to the opponents' views the following give reasons why NAFTA can not possibly cause the before mentioned problems. Job loss is curved by the influx in employment by exports, and the companies that move to Mexico were not previously bound to remain in the United States. Therefore, if NAFTA did not exist, the companies would have most likely moved. Environmental problems have been an issue along the Mexican border for years, but now with NAFTA, discussions with the Mexican government can begin as to how to solve the situation. NAFTA will also help to reduce immigration by giving Mexican workers the opportunity to find jobs in their country, thus American jobs will not be lost to immigrants.


Jeffrey J. Schott. "North American Free Trade Agreement". World Book Online America's Edition. web January 25, 2003 Danielle Knight.
Environment Groups Organize Against NAFTA Rules". Third World Network. web September 8, 2000 Patti Goldman.
How NAFTA Jeopardizes Health, Safety, and Environmental Standards". Multinational Monitor. web October 1993 Governor Richards of Texas.