The North American Free Trade Agreement (NATFA) took effect Jan. 1, 1994, and as the region celebrates NAFTA's 20th anniversary, many are claiming the country that has benefited the most from the agreement is Mexico. In the past 20 years, manufacturing in Mexico has gained ground, the country has introduced and implemented numerous reforms and many Mexicans are receiving engineering and science degrees.
The Canadian Press reported Mexico now produces 20 percent of the total automobile production in North America, making Mexico second only to the U.S. in output. Canada's auto sector production only accounts for 16 percent. Angeles Villarreal, a trade specialist with the U.S. Congressional Research Service, told the news source while NAFTA didn't achieve all that optimists expected, Mexico's auto industry strength and the industry's high-quality job growth are key indicators of NAFTA's benefits. According to The Associated Press, in fact 30 to 40 percent of what was promised in the agreement never came to fruition.
Yet while not all parts of NAFTA came through, Alfredo Coutino, director for Latin America at Moody's Analytics, told the AP that Mexico might not have seen such strength without NAFTA, and is the clear winner because of it.