The main provisions of NAFTA required a gradual reduction in tariffs, tariffs and other trade barriers between the three Member States, with some tariffs to be abolished immediately and others over a 15-year period. The agreement guaranteed duty-free access for a wide range of industrial products and goods traded between the signatories. “Domestic goods” have been granted to products imported from other NAFTA countries and prohibit all governments, local or provincial, from imposing taxes or tariffs on these products. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was inspired by the success of the European Economic Community (1957-1993) in removing tariffs to stimulate trade among its members. Supporters argued that the creation of a free trade area in North America would bring prosperity through increased trade and production, resulting in the creation of millions of well-paying jobs in all participating countries. Other provisions have been introduced to settle disputes between investors and participating countries. Such rules allowed, among other things, companies or individual investors to sue against compensation from any signatory country that violated the rules of the treaty. The free trade agreement was concluded in 1988 and NAFTA extended most of the provisions of the free trade agreement to Mexico. NAFTA was negotiated by the governments of U.S. President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican Prime Minister Carlos Salinas de Gortari. An interim agreement on the pact was reached in August 1992 and signed by the three heads of state and government on 17 December. NAFTA was ratified by the national parliaments of the three countries in 1993 and came into force on January 1, 1994.
Many critics of NAFTA saw the agreement as a radical experiment developed by influential multinationals who wanted to increase their profits at the expense of ordinary citizens of the countries concerned. Opposition groups argued that the horizontal rules imposed by nafta could undermine local governments by preventing them from enacting laws or regulations to protect the public interest. Critics also argued that the treaty would lead to a significant deterioration in environmental and health standards, promote privatization and deregulation of essential public services, and supplant family farmers in the signatory countries. Hero and McGrew counted thousands of IGOs worldwide in 2002 and this number continues to grow. This situation is due to globalization, which strengthens and encourages cooperation between and within states and has also facilitated the growth of the IGO by strengthening international relations.