The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper provides a comprehensive assessment of the impact of NAFTA on growth and business cycles in Mexico. The effect of the agreement in spurring a dramatic increase in trade and financial flows between Mexico and its NAFTA partners, and its impact on Mexican economic growth and business cycle dynamics, are documented with reference both to stylized facts and recent empirical research. The paper concludes by drawing lessons from Mexico's NAFTA experience for policymakers in developing countries. The foremost of these is that in an increasingly globalized trading system, bilateral and regional free trade arrangements should be used to accelerate, rather than postpone, needed structural reform.