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Estudios sociales (Hermosillo, Son.)

Print version ISSN 0188-4557


CALDERON VILLARREAL, Cuauhtémoc  and  HERNANDEZ BIELMA, Leticia. NAFTA and the limits of North America's economic integration: External trade and foreign direct investment. Estud. soc [online]. 2011, vol.19, n.37, pp.91-118. ISSN 0188-4557.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a form of "dual economic integration", which since its implementation has maintained gaps in the economic development of the participating countries. This has contributed to reproduce underdevelopment and structural heterogeneity among the three countries. Since the signing of NAFTA Mexico has continued to be an underdeveloped country, in spite of the theory of standard growth's foresight, according to which the growth of developed countries is transmitted to the less developed ones through the movement of capitals and foreign exchange. Because of its "dual" nature, NAFTA has internally favored the commerce flow specialization and the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) among the three countries; it strengthened the vertical FDI between Mexico and The United States, complementing the foreign trade that seeks low wages, and it also helped the FDI's flows of advanced technology between The United States and Canada with high wages. Furthermore, since the implementation of NAFTA, the three countries have maintained differentiated growth rates, showing Mexico the lowest rate. The economic and technological gap between Mexico and the other two countries, the United States and Canada, has continued to grow. This article studies NAFTA's limitations, analyzing the intra-regional interaction of commerce flows and the foreign direct investment in the region, through the years of 1994-2008. The North American recession of 2001-2002 constituted a point of inflection that modified the FDI flow behavior in the region.

Keywords : economic integration; foreign direct investment; North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

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