It's Complicated: NAFTA and Arizona's Role in Border Trade

George Hammond, Ph.D., EBRC Director and Research Professor

Did you know that Arizona’s top two trading partners are Mexico and Canada? Further, since 2002 the dollar value of Arizona’s exports to Mexico and Canada have increased rapidly, rising by 147%. Many economists believe that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed in 1993, contributed to Arizona’s export success. Given the fact that the agreement is currently being renegotiated, it’s a good time to review NAFTA and think about its future.

One great place to start is a recent article exploring the framework and challenges of NAFTA written by Vera Pavlakovich-Kochi: “Arizona, Mexico, NAFTA: Long Courtship, Marriage of Convenience, and Now Looming Separation?” The article succinctly reviews the international trade relationships that gave rise to NAFTA, summarizes some of the challenges NAFTA has faced, and emphasizes the importance of Arizona’s trade with Mexico.

The article appears on EBRC’s Arizona-Mexico Economic Indicators (AZMEX) website, which illuminates Arizona’s role in border trade, particularly trade with Mexico. In addition to highlighting key indicators on trade, tourism, border crossings, and economic performance, AZMEX provides detailed analysis on many of the vital economic issues Arizona and Mexico face.