The European Union is a group of democratic European countries working together for peace and prosperity (Hill; The, 2005). Its forerunner, the European Coal and Steel Community, was formed in 1951 by Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to remove barriers to intragroup shipments of coal, iron, steel and scrap metal. The European Union now consists of 25 countries. It originally dealt with trade and the economy, but now also covers citizen's rights; ensuring freedom, security and justice; job creation; regional development; environmental protection; and making globalization work for all.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an agreement entered into by the governments of the United States, Canada and Mexico in 1991, and ratified by all three governments in 1992 to eliminate all tariffs on trade between Canada, the United States and Mexico (Hill, 285). The agreement became law in 1994. It was felt that although many manufacturing jobs would move to Mexico because of reduced labor costs there, Americans and Canadians would benefit because the Mexicans would have more money to spend on American and Canadian imported goods because of increased employment opportunities, and U.S. and Canadian consumers would benefit from cheaper goods produced in Mexico. Lower labor costs in Mexico would allow U.S. and Canadian manufacturers who moved production there to compete with Asian and European rivals.
MERCOSUR was originally a free trade pact between Brazil and Argentina formed in 1988 to reduce tariffs and quotas to help increase trade between the two countries (Hill, 286). In 1990 it was extended to include Paraguay and Uruguay. The four countries entered a five-year plan to establish a free trade area and eventually a common market for their combined 200 million population.
The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was created in 1990 and has 21 member states, currently acc...