Controversy over the provisions of the Treaty on the Application of Environmental Protection remained high in the late 1990s. North American trade interests have tried to weaken a major NAFTA agreement on environmental protection and enforcement. This agreement – one of the few provisions welcomed by environmental groups allows groups and ordinary citizens to criticise Member States for not enforcing their own environmental laws. A three-country environmental cooperation commission is tasked with investigating these allegations and disclosing public reports. “This process is slow, but the embarrassment factor has proven surprisingly high,” Business Week noted. Since 2005, the U.S. government has opposed NAFTA revisions. But the Canadian government and many companies in the three countries continue to work to amend this agreement. According to Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the Trump administration`s list “is very consistent with the president`s position on trade barriers that like protectionism. This makes NAFTA less of a free trade agreement in many ways.  The considerations expressed by the U.S. representative regarding subsidized state-owned enterprises and currency manipulation are not likely to apply in Canada and Mexico, but are intended to send a message to countries outside North America.  Jeffrey Schott of the Peterson Institute for International Economics stated that it was not possible to conclude renegotiations quickly, while alleviating all concerns on the list.  He also said that it would be difficult to do something about trade deficits.
 The United States had a trade surplus of $28.3 billion in 2009 with NAFTA countries for services and, in 2010, a trade deficit of $94.6 billion (36.4% per year) for goods. This trade deficit represented 26.8% of the total U.S. trade deficit.  A 2018 study on international trade published by the Center for International Relations identified irregularities in NAFTA trade patterns using network theory analysis techniques. The study showed that the U.S. trade balance was influenced by the potential for tax evasion in Ireland.  The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a treaty of the United States, Canada and Mexico. it came into force on 1 January 1994. (Since 1989, there has been free trade between the United States and Canada; NAFTA has extended this regime.) On that day, the three countries became the largest free market in the world – the combined economies of the three nations were $6 trillion and directly affected more than 365 million people. NAFTA was created to remove customs barriers for agriculture, manufacturing and services; Eliminating restrictions on investment protection of intellectual property rights. This should be done while respecting environmental and labour concerns (although many observers point to the fact that the three governments have been negligent in environmental and safety at work since the agreement came into force).
Small businesses were among those expected to benefit the most from the removal of trade barriers, as this would reduce trade activity in Mexico and Canada and reduce the administrative burden associated with importing or exporting goods. Although NAFTA has not kept all its promises, it has remained in place. Indeed, in 2004, the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) extended NAFTA to five Central American countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua). In the same year, the Dominican Republic joined the group in signing a free trade agreement with the United States, followed by Colombia in 2006, Peru in 2007 and Panama in 2011.