NAFTA-TAA Program:

Certification Criteria, Procedures, and Activity

NSIAD-98-51R: Published: Nov 4, 1997. Publicly Released: Nov 4, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information concerning: (1) the statutory basis for the North American Free Trade Agreement's Transitional Adjustment Assistance (NAFTA-TAA) program, including the criteria under which workers are certified as eligible to receive benefits; (2) procedures followed to certify workers as eligible for these benefits; and (3) certification activity to date.

GAO noted that: (1) the NAFTA-TAA program was established as part of the 1993 NAFTA act; (2) under this program, assistance may be provided to workers who are displaced because of increased imports from or shifts in production to Mexico or Canada, provided certain eligibility criteria are met; (3) neither the act nor the Department of Labor's implementing guidance concerning worker eligibility for assistance under NAFTA-TAA requires that increased imports or production shifts be linked directly to NAFTA; (4) state and federal governments share responsibility for determining eligibility, with the final determination made by the Secretary of Labor; (5) as of September 4, 1997, 1,206 groups of workers, comprising 142,884 individuals from 46 states, had been certified as eligible to apply for NAFTA-TAA benefits; and (6) certification was denied for 772 groups of workers, covering 87,034 individuals, through August 31, 1997.

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