One of the most remarkable features of North American free trade show quickly it rose to the top of the foreign policy agendas of Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Few experts could have predicted at the beginning of 1990n that by January 1, 1994, a full-fledged North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) including Mexico, Canada, and the United States could enter into force. The historic significance of this agreement cannot be exaggerated. NAFTA is the second largest free trade area in the world yielding a market of more than 360 million people –almost as large and populous as the European Economic Area (EEA)- and a GNP of US$5.528 trillion, which represents practically one-third of world production. Apart from generating one of the most heated public debates in recent U.S. history, NAFTA has already stimulated the preparation of a large number of studies –general equilibrium models, econometrical analyses, books, monographs, articles, papers- which have concentrated on assessing the economic, employment, and environmental impact of free trade on the North American region. However, few studies have illuminated the process and process of consolidating free trade in the region, and the obstacles and most difficult problems that had to be surmounted to reach the agreement. With the agreement now in place, questions arise as how NAFTA could be expanded to incorporate other countries in the Western Hemisphere, or deepened to include issues, such as labor flows, that were put aside during original negotiations, or strengthened to facilitate a prompt recovery of the Mexican economy after the peso crisis.

The book deals with these issues. It is the work of two Mexican scholars who have done long and extensive research in North American issues. It provides a useful and insight analysis to crucial dimensions of North American integration.