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Leveling the Playing FieldTransnational Regulatory Integration and Development$
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Laszlo Bruszt and Gerald A. McDermott

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198703143

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198703143.001.0001

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The NAFTA Side Agreements and Governance in Mexico

The NAFTA Side Agreements and Governance in Mexico

(p.101) 5 The NAFTA Side Agreements and Governance in Mexico
Leveling the Playing Field

Mark Aspinwall

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers how Mexican environmental and labor governance adapted to the requirements of the NAFTA environmental and labor side agreement institutions. It shows that small but important steps have been taken to improve the culture of rule of law and build capacity. However, these vary according to important differences in levels of professionalization and the structure of the two trilateral side agreements. While serious challenges remain, improvements to governance have been made, especially on the environmental side. They include (1) stronger domestic institutions; (2) improvements to capacity in these institutions and among agency officials; (3) healthier NGOs. Greater communication, professionalization, transparency, and information have led to improvements in expectations and attitudes regarding rule of law. Set in the context of minimal budgets, enormous trade and investment-prompted pollution levels, corrupt pre-existing labor practices, and also in the context of wider rule of law failures in Mexico, this is an important achievement.

Keywords:   NAFTA, Mexico, side agreements, labor, environment, domestic capacity, rule of law

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