North America is displayed as a unique continent with just three nations compared to the other regions around the world. At a small number countries, a regional integration would serve as the best interest for all three to grow not just economically but increase ties in social and possibly governmental structures.
Throughout history, these three nations served as former colonies of European powers in the past and have gone through some forms of war against each other as well. Overtime, they have grown partnerships in trade and social development as well. However, there still remains the difference in development level where the United States and Canada are developed nations and Mexico remains at the developing level. The NAFTA was drafted between these three countries to boost their economic ties as well as a mutual understanding in development of labour markets and protection from environmental degradation. But in the previous weeks of articles, we find that this collaboration effort is not as great as it should have been.
The United States is by far the driving force of the NAFTA and it seems as they have benefited the most out of the agreement. American industrialists relocated their factories into Mexico due to the lower cost of production and higher supply of workers for a lower wage. Because of the jobs available, there is increased urbanization of the population in the major urban centers creating socials problems. Even the agricultural business is affected as American wholesalers are only purchasing limited supply of the overall output by the farmers at a low price and restricting them from selling their products to anyone else. It can be said that the NAFTA is more or less a harm to Mexico than a pacemaker to help it grow. With recent election of a new president in Mexico, there could be some significant changes in regards to the trade and American influence into the country.
On the other hand, in Canada the NAFTA is only helping them through some manufacturing exports and the abundance of natural resources. However, with the NAFTA in place, farmers in Canada are also affected in similar manner as the Mexicans but strong institutions keep them in shape and help them sell their products abroad without permanent restrictions. Natural resources such as lumber, minerals and petroleum are attractive to the US since they are the largest consumers out of the three nations. Projects such as a joint pipeline project was proposed to connect oil from Alaska and part of Canada in order to transfer the products. However, these projects pose a long-term environmental threat as the permafrost in the north would be permanently affected and could increase the melting of the Arctic icecaps. If any accidents were to occur, it would cost Canada greatly.
The future of North American regional integration is a questionable process, whether it would continue to be based on economic benefits or change towards a more supranational approach it is unknown. But as far as we can see your right now, the problems that NAFTA has brought needs to be dealt with.