Document Type

Closed Project

Publication Date

Spring 2010


Timothy Anderson

Course Title

Research Methods in Engineering Management

Course Number

ETM 565/665


Exports -- United States -- Effect of trade agreements on, Free trade -- United States, North American Free Trade Agreement (1992 December 17), CAFTA (Free trade agreement) (2005), Economic development


This paper challenges the assumptions that governmental trade promotional efforts and the entering into of Free Trade Agreements (FTA’s) have a strong positive effect on U.S. exports. While determining that global economic growth and the dollar exchange rate are the main drivers of exports, the paper uncovers some very interesting and not well known facts about export performance with the seventeen partnering FTA countries. For the U.S. to enter into an FTA does not necessarily cause a surge in exports and imports. This paper cautions against over-optimistic and wholesale attempts to force through controversial FTA’s when perhaps the membership in the World Trade Organization is sufficient to ensure steady growth. It is especially disappointing to see the relative lackluster growth in exports after the NAFTA and CAFTA agreements went into place. Other FTA partners show a much better record.


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