NAFTA: Ten years of cross-border dialogue

Brooks, David & Jonathan Fox
Interhemispheric Resource Centre
Year of Publication: 

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was both cause and effect of a new bilateral consensus between Mexican and U.S. elites that strengthened their hand "from above." But at the same time, it opened up unprecedented possibilities for civil society convergence "from below."

More than a decade ago, groups in the United States and Mexico began to respond to accelerating economic integration between their two countries. This binational relationship--anchored in North America 's uniquely intense proximity between the "developing" and "developed" worlds--provoked some of the first sustained cross-border encounters among social constituency organizations. Nongovernmental public interest groups had long been developing transnational issue networks, but with NAFTA social organizations directly affected by the pact began to get to know their counterparts face-to-face. Their experiences offer some of the earliest examples of people-to-people "globalization from below."