Washington proposes a “North American Agreement”
November 13, 1979
While officially declaring his candidacy for President, Ronald Reagan proposes a “North American Agreement”
which will produce “a North American continent in which the goods and people of the three countries will cross boundaries
President Ronald Reagan proposes a North American common market.
Canada and the US drawing closer together
September 4, 1984
Brian Mulroney (Conservative Party) is elected Prime Minister of Canada with the highest majority in his country’s
September 25, 1984
Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney meets President Reagan in Washington and promises closer relations with the US.
October 9, 1984
The US Congress adopts the Trade and Tariff Act, an omnibus trade act that notably extends the powers of the president
to concede trade benefits and enter into bilateral free trade agreements. The Act would be passed on October 30, 1984.
September 26, 1985
Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney announces that Canada will try to reach a free trade agreement with the US.
December 10, 1985
President Reagan officially informs Congress about his intention to negotiate a free trade agreement with Canada under
the authority of trade promotion. Referred to as fast track, trade promotion authority is an accelerated legislative procedure
which obliges the House of Representatives and the Senate to decide within 90 days whether or not to establish a trade trade
unit. No amendments are permitted.
Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
Simon Reisman, Chief negotiator for Canada, and Peter Murphy, the American negotiator, start negotiations.
October 3, 1987
Conclusion of the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in Washington.
January 2, 1988
Prime Minister Mulroney and President Reagan sign the FTA.
January 1, 1989
The FTA takes effect.
Mexico and the US drawing closer together
November 6, 1987
Signing of a framework agreement between the US and Mexico.
June 10, 1990
Presidents Bush and Salinas announce that they will begin discussions aimed at liberalizing trade between their countries.
August 21, 1990
President Salinas officially proposes to the US president the negotiation of a free trade agreement between Mexico and
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
February 5, 1991
Negotiations between the US and Mexico aimed at liberalizing trade between the two countries officially become trilateral
at the request of the Canadian government.
April 7 to 10, 1991
Cooperation agreements are signed between Mexico and Canada covering taxation, cultural production and exports.
May 24, 1991
The American Senate endorses the extension of fast track authority in order to facilitate the negotiation of free trade
June 12, 1991
Start of trade negotiations between Canada, the US and Mexico.
April 4, 1992
Signing in Mexico by Canada and Mexico of a protocol agreement on cooperation projects regarding labour.
August 12, 1992
Signing of an agreement in principle on NAFTA.
September 17, 1992
Creation of a trilateral commission responsible for examining cooperation in the area of the environment.
October 7, 1992
Official signing of NAFTA by Michaël Wilson of Canada (minister), American ambassador Carla Hills and Mexican secretary
Jaime Serra Puche, in San Antonio (Texas).
December 17, 1992
Official signing of NAFTA by Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, US president George Bush, and Mexican president Carlos
Salinas de Gortari, subject to its final approval by the federal Parliaments of the three countries.
March 17 and 18, 1993
Start of tripartite discussions in Washington aimed at reaching subsidiary agreements covering labor and the environment.
September 14, 1993
Official signing of parallel agreements covering labor and the environment in the capitals of the three countries.
January 1, 1994
NAFTA and the two agreements on labor and the environment take effect.
November 16, 1994
Canada and Mexico sign a cooperation agreement regarding the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Mexican Peso Crisis
December 22, 1994
Mexican monetary authorities decide to let the Peso float. The US and Canada open a US$6 billion line of credit for Mexico.
January 3, 1995
Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo presents an emergency plan.
President Clinton announces an aid plan for Mexico.
21 February, 1995
Signing in Washington of an agreement regarding the financial assistance given to Mexico. Mexico in turn promises to pay
Mexican oil export revenue as a guarantee into an account at the Federal Reserve in New York.Signature à Washington d’une
entente concernant l’aide financière apportée au Mexique. Au terme de celle-ci, le Mexique s’engage notamment
à verser en garantie les revenus d’exportations mexicaines de pétrole dans un compte de la Réserve fédérale de New York.
February 28, 1995
Mexico announces the increase of its customs duties on a number of imports from countries with which it does not have a
free trade agreement.
March 9, 1995
President Zedillo presents austerity measures. The plan envisages a 50% increase in value added taxes, a 10% reduction
of government expenditure, a 35% increase in gas prices, a 20% increase in electricity prices and a 100% increase in transportation
prices. The minimum wage is increased by 10%. The private sector can benefit from government assistance. The inter-bank rate
that is reduced to 74% will be increased to 109% on March 15.
March 29, 1995
Statistical data on US foreign trade confirms the sharp increase in Mexican exports to the US.
April 10, 1995
The US dollar reaches its lowest level in history on the international market. It depreciated by 50% relative to the Japanese
yen in only four years.
Chile and NAFTA
December 9 to 14, 1994
At the Miami Summit, the three signatories of NAFTA officially invite Chile to become a contractual party of the agreement.
February 9, 1995
Mickey Kantor, the US Foreign Trade representative, announces Washington’s intention to include the provisions of
NAFTA regarding labor and the environment in negotiations with Chile.
June 7, 1995
First meeting of the ministers of Foreign Trade of Canada (Roy MacLaren), the US (Mickey Kantor), Mexico (Herminio Blanco)
and Chile (Eduardo Aninat) to start negotiations.
Disagreements remain between the US Congress and the White House on the content of the free trade agreement with Chile.
President Clinton does not succeed in renewing the fast track that permits him to conclude international trade agreements.
He would be deprived of this tool during the two terms of his presidency. Chile tries to negotiate separate free trade agreements
with Canada and Mexico.
December 29, 1995
Chile and Canada commit to negotiate a bilateral free trade agreement.
June 3, 1996
Chile and Canada start negotiating the reciprocal opening of markets in Santiago.
November 18, 1996
Signing in Ottawa of the Canada-Chile free trade agreement by Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada and Eduardo Frei,
President of Chile. The agreement frees 80% of trade between the two countries. It is the first free trade agreement signed
between Chile and a member of the G 7.
July 4, 1997
The Canada-Chile free trade agreement comes into effect.
The US presidency proposes applying NAFTA parity to Caribbean countries.
April 17, 1998
Signing in Santiago, Chile of the free trade agreement between Chile and Mexico by President Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León
of Mexico, and President Eduardo Frei of Chile.
August 1, 1999
The Chile-Mexico free trade agreement comes into effect.
November 27, 2000
Trade negotiations resume between the US and Chile for Chile’s possible entry into NAFTA.
A new North American agenda
July 2, 2000
Vicente Fox Quesada of the National Action Party (PAN), is elected president of Mexico, thus ending the reign of the Revolutionary
Institutional Party (RIP) that had held power for 71 years. Mr. Fox is sworn in on 1 December 2000.
4 July, 2000
Mexican president Vicente Fox proposes a 20 to 30 year timeline for the creation of a common North American market. President
Fox’s “20/20 vision” as it is commonly called, includes the following:
- a customs union
- a common external tariff
- greater coordination of policies
- common monetary policies
- free flow of labor
- fiscal transfers for the development of poor Mexican regions
With the model of the European Fund in mind, President Fox suggests that US$10 to 30 billion be invested in NAFTA to support
underdeveloped regions. The fund could be administered by an international financial institution such as the Inter-American