In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created the world's largest free trade area and, among other things, reduced or eliminated barriers for U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico's vast and growing markets. As part of a body of GAO work on NAFTA issues, this report (1) identifies progress made and difficulties encountered in gaining market access for U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico; (2) describes Mexico's response to changes brought by agricultural trade liberalization and challenges to the successful implementation of NAFTA; and (3) examines collaborative activities and assesses strategies to support Mexico's transition to liberalized agricultural trade under NAFTA.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of State||To aid the full and successful implementation of NAFTA, the Secretary of State, as the head of one of the lead agencies for the P4P initiative, should work with USDA and other relevant agencies to develop an action plan under P4P laying out specific collaborative efforts on rural development that would support the successful implementation of NAFTA. Such a plan could include a comprehensive strategy that outlines specific activities that are intended to address the challenges presented by lagging rural development to Mexico's successful transition to liberalized agricultural trade under NAFTA, and sets time frames and performance measures for these activities.|
|Department of State||To promote rural development in Mexico and enhance Mexican small farmers' ability to benefit from trade opportunities under NAFTA, which would also help shape a more positive perception of the agreement, the Secretary of State, as the lead agency for the P4P initiative, should work with USDA and other relevant agencies to expand collaborative efforts with the Mexican government to facilitate credit availability in the countryside. This would include providing Mexico with expertise in the area of rural financing, such as risk assessment, project management, and loan evaluation.|