Reciprocity is a necessary feature of any agreement. If each required party does not win by the agreement as a whole, there is no incentive to approve it. If an agreement is reached, it can be assumed that each contracting party expects to win at least as much as it loses. For example, Country A, in exchange for removing barriers to country B products, which benefit A consumers and B producers, will insist that Country B reduce barriers to country A products and thus benefit country A producers and perhaps B consumers. After all, three low-key events have had a significant impact on the North American economy, none of which can be attributed to NAFTA. The collapse of the technology bubble has led to growth. The September 11 attacks led to a severe crackdown on border crossings, particularly between the United States and Mexico, but also between the United States and Canada. In a 2013 Department of Foreign Affairs article, Michael Wilson, Canada`s Minister of International Trade from 1991 to 1993, wrote that crossing the U.S.-Canada border fell by nearly 70% between 2000 and 2012 to a four-decade low. Real exports of goods to Canada increased by 50% between 1993 and 2016 and real imports of goods increased by 41%. NAFTA appears to have improved the U.S. trade position vis-à-vis Canada. In fact, the two countries already had a free trade agreement since 1988, but the pattern persists – the U.S. trade deficit with Canada was even larger in 1987 than in 1993.
Finally, the 2008 financial crisis had a profound impact on the global economy, making it difficult to determine the effects of a trade agreement. Apart from some areas where the effect is not yet entirely clear, NAFTA has had a fairly obvious impact on the North American economies. The fact that it is now in danger of being abolished probably has little to do with its own merits or mistakes, and much more so with automation, the rise of China and the political consequences of September 11 and the 2008 financial crisis. Before NAFTA, there was a deficit. They also contributed to the growth of a small educated middle class: Mexico had about nine engineering graduates per 10,000 people in 2015, compared to seven in the United States. Discussions made progress on a number of issues, including telecommunications, pharmacy, chemicals, digital commerce and the fight against corruption. But the way in which the origin of automotive content is measured has proved to be a sensitive point, as the United States fears an influx of Chinese auto parts. Discussions are further complicated by a World Trade Organization (WTO) case against the United States.