North American Free Trade Agreement:

Structure and Status of Implementing Organizations

GGD-95-10BR: Published: Oct 7, 1994. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the progress of establishing organizations to carry out the goals of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), focusing on the: (1) design and composition of the various organizations created by NAFTA and its related agreements; (2) status of staffing and budget-related issues for these organizations; and (3) expansion of NAFTA bureaucracy.

GAO found that: (1) NAFTA and its related agreements created a number of bodies and an organizational structure to carry out the terms of the agreements; (2) the newly created organizations include the Free Trade Commission, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation , the Commission for Labor Cooperation, the Border Environment Cooperation Commission, and the North American Development Bank; (3) the responsibility for establishing and managing the various NAFTA bodies is being shared equally by the United States, Canada, and Mexico; (4) setting up several NAFTA supporting bodies has taken longer than initially expected, according to government officials; (5) the potential exists to expand the number of NAFTA organizations; (6) the three countries' trade ministers have proposed a new coordinating body, the NAFTA Coordinating Secretariat (NCS), that would require new staff and a permanent site; and (7) negotiations to formally establish NCS have been delayed by disagreements over the number of permanent staff assigned from each country and the specific functions of NCS.

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