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47 J. Common Mkt. Stud. 1 (2009)

handle is hein.journals/jcmks47 and id is 1 raw text is: 

JCMS  2009 Volume  47. Number 1. pp. 1-24

NAFTA-ization: Regionalization and Domestic

Political Adjustment in the North American

Economic Area

University of Edinburgh


Europeanization is an example of initial bargains between states leading to ongoing
political adjustment within the states. In this article I apply the concept to NAFTA and
look at two of its member states, finding that despite the low level of institutional-
ization, NAFTA has set in motion new forms of political organization and behaviour,
and new  demands for political action. This is especially marked in Mexico, and in
certain sectors. It is also clearly visible in the changing patterns of cross-border
bureaucratic communication. The main  conclusions are that: (1) even in a lightly
institutionalized regional trade agreement, the institutional, legal and civil society
capacity of less-developed members is strengthened; (2) despite the absence of a
formal process of policy or institutional development and the lack of legislative
instruments, NAFTA  has begun a hidden process of domestic adjustment in technical
and specialized areas; and (3) like the EU, pressures to expand and strengthen
NAFTA   have  emerged as a result of the initial agreement as well as extraneous
factors. These conclusions may offer lessons to the study and practice of regional
organizations elsewhere.


The  North American   Free Trade  Agreement   (NAFTA) is   the result of con-
tentious negotiations between  the US,  Canada  and  Mexico  which  began  in

C 2008 The Author(s)
Journal compilation C 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148,

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