Seminar Discusses Pardee Task Force Report on Future of NAFTA

Timothy A. Wise and Kevin P. Gallagher
Kevin P. Gallagher and Timothy A. Wise

On Wednesday, February 10, 2010, The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future held a seminar on ‘The Future of NAFTA in conjunction with the launch of the Pardee Center Task Force Report on the Future of North American Trade Policy Part of the ‘Pardee House Seminars’ series, the event featured Timothy A. Wise , Policy Research Director, Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University and Prof. Kevin P. Gallagher, Associate Professor of International Relations at Boston University and Pardee Faculty Fellow.

Dr. Gallagher started the discussion by explaining how the Pardee Center Task Force Reports were originally conceived and introducing its contents and composition. In focussing on the investment policies section of the report and highlighting the recommendations, he went on to explain that evidence points overwhelmingly that the NAFTA model has been a disappointment despite notable successes. While he talked primarily about the investment rules and lessons pertaining to that he also highlighted that the report itself covered a whole host of issues in addition to that which also pertain to the future of North American Trade Policy.

Mr. Wise also introduced and presented a second report, from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which had focussed on the impacts of NAFTA on Mexico and the lessons of this experience for other developing countries. This report had been done in parallel with the Pardee Center Task Force Report and complemented it in terms of its parallel lessons and conclusions.

The two speakers concluded their presentation by stating that deep reform is required for NAFTA and the NAFTA template, and that trade agreements need to address the asymmetries among trading partners; however, they also stressed that trade agreements are no substitute for coherent national development policy.

Following the presentation the audience engaged in a lively discussion with the panelists. Some of the issues discussed included how future trade agreements might look like, the types and roles of interest groups on domestic policy on NAFTA. The audience and the panelists also  discussed on how China and Brazil and other developing, emerging economies might influence trade policy in North America and World Trade Organization policies.

The video of the seminar will be made available at the Pardee Center’s multimedia webpage.

Download a copy of the Pardee Center Task Force Report on the Future of North American Trade Policy here.

A copy of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report on Rethinking Trade Policy for Development: Lessons from Mexico Under NAFTA is available here. Read more on GDAE’s ten years of research on the Lessons from NAFTA here.

Download a PDF version of the panelists’ presentation here.