This new study presents a detailed examination of the initial NAFTA experience and evaluates its long-term implications beyond those of ending trade and tariff barriers. NAFTA initiated a procedure for addressing transborder economic problems in a more adequate and predictable fashion, potentially encouraging policy convergence between three disparate political cultures.Rather than addressing economic, social, and environmental policy issues separately, trade policy increasingly serves as a vehicle for negotiating policy convergence. Consequently, trade officials are being forced to deal with an expanded array of domestic policy issues. Beyond the economic aspects of NAFTA, this book examines the less studied cultural implications of this new international arrangement.In addition, environmental protection and conservation issues are now at the forefront of the international political agenda. NAFTA's environmental side agreement created a new way to address environmental concerns while protecting local standards, again illustrating the attempt to achieve policy convergence by means of a trade apparatus. As in other areas covered in this book, NAFTA represents the continuing tension between integration and the maintenance of national autonomy.