This paper argues that conflicting assessments of the impacts of free trade in North America are incomplete because they do not analyze these effects in light of the key long term U.S. goal: the reconstruction of U.S. hegemony that was under siege by Japan and Europe. The declining competitiveness of U.S. raw materials supply systems badly damaged U.S. hegemony during the 1970s and 1980s. The original U.S. strategy was to create a continental energy market to reduce overseas oil imports, guarantee access to oil and natural gas from Canada and Mexico, and reduce price instability. The evolution into broader agreements reflected the interests of other U.S. industries and the efforts of Canadian and Mexican states and firms to capture benefits from restructuring. This paper analyzes the role continental integration of raw materials industries played in strategic efforts to reconstruct U.S. hegemony and the consequences of these efforts.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/paul_ciccantell/21/