For Nafta to catch up with the European Union (EU) in terms of becoming an international economic community, the U.S. should support a number of measures, including presidential Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) or ‘fast-track’ negotiating authority, according to Robert Pastor, international relations professor at Emory University.

          Dr. Pastor spoke at a seminar with Mexican ambassador Andres Rozental at the Carter Center last week on changing Mexico-U.S. relations, including migration and economic integration issues.

          For the Nafta to be fully effective, Dr. Pastor said, Mexican President Vicente Fox believes it should become an economic union, having uniform trade policies and unrestricted movement of labor among the three countries.

The Bush administration, he added, has yet to decide on such a proposal, but is currently pushing for other free trade policy developments. One is TPA that would allow the president to enter into trade negotiations in order to lower U.S. export barriers. This authority would affect the negotiation of trade agreements all over the world, including a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), he said.

          Dr. Pastor believes that Canada, Mexico and the U.S. must develop policies that will benefit all three Nafta members. This would include a policy on labor migration, he said.

          He suggested the formation of a trilateral North American Commission (NAC) of 15 advisers that would set the agenda for the three countries to move forward with plans for economic integration and trade development.

          The NAC, he said, would first look at North American business from a standpoint of transportation and infrastructure in order to initiate plans for efficient shipment of goods among Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

          The Canadians, Dr. Pastor noted, prefer bilateral trade, as do the Americans and as did the Mexicans until Mr. Fox’s administration. To avoid trade disputes, however, Dr. Pastor suggested a trilateral approach like his proposed NAC because trade would be negotiated based on “rule-based mechanisms” rather than emotions or special interests.

          For more information, contact Dr. Pastor at (404) 727-6969, the Carter Center at (404) 331-3900 or Emory communications department at (404) 727-0568.