EconomyMain article: Economy of North America See also: List of North American countries by GDP (nominal), List of North American countries by GDP (PPP), and List of North American countries by GDP per capita
Canada, Mexico and the United States have significant and multifaceted economic systems. The United States has the largest economy in North America, and in the world. In 2011, the US has an estimated per capita gross domestic product (PPP) of $47,200, and is the most technologically developed economy in North America. The United States' services sector comprises 76.7% of the country's GDP (estimated in 2010), industry comprises 22.2% and agriculture comprises 1.2%. Canada's economic trends are similar to that of the United States, with significant growth in the sectors of services, mining and manufacturing. Canada's GDP (PPP) was estimated at $39,400 in 2010. Canada's services sector comprises 78% of the country's GDP (estimated in 2010), industry comprises 20% and agriculture comprises 2%. Mexico has a GDP (PPP) of $15,113 per capita and as of 2010 is the 11th largest economy in the world. Being a newly industrialized country, Mexico maintains both modern and outdated industrial and agricultural facilities and operations. Its main sources of income are oil, industrial exports, manufactured goods, electronics, heavy industry, automobiles, construction, food, banking and financial services.
The North American economy is well defined and structured in three main economic areas. These areas are the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), and the Central American Common Market (CACM). Of these trade blocs, the United States takes part in two. In addition to the larger trade blocs there is the Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement among numerous other free trade relations; often between the larger, more developed countries, and Central American and Caribbean countries.
The North America Free Trade Agreement forms one of the four largest trade blocs in the world. Its implementation in 1994 allowed for strong economic cooperation with hopes of eliminating barriers of trade and foreign investment between the three northern nations. While Canada and the United States already conducted the largest bilateral trade relationship - and to present day still do - in the world and Canada - United States trade relations already allowed trade without national taxes and tariffs, NAFTA allowed Mexico to experience a similar duty free trade. The free trade agreement allowed for the elimination of tariffs that had previously been in place on United States-Mexico trade. Trade volume has steadily increased annually and in 2010, surface trade between the three NAFTA nations reached an all-time historical increase of 24.3% or USD $791 billion. The NAFTA trade bloc GDP (PPP) is the world's largest with $17.617 USD trillions. This is in part attributed to the fact that the economy of the United States is the world's largest national economy; the country had a nominal GDP of approximately $14.7 trillion in 2010. The countries of NAFTA are also some of each other's largest trade partners. The United States is the largest trade partner of Canada and Mexico; while Canada and Mexico are each other's third largest trade partners.
The Caribbean trade bloc - CARICOM - came into agreement in 1973 when it was signed by 15 Caribbean nations. As of 2000, CARICOM trade volume was USD $96 billion. CARICOM also allowed for the creation of a common passport for associated nations. In the past decade the trade bloc focused largely on Free Trade Agreements and under the CARICOM Office of Trade Negotiations (OTN) free trade agreements have been signed into effect.
Integration of Central American economies occurred under the signing of the Central American Common Market agreement in 1961; this was the first attempt to engage the nations of this area into stronger financial cooperation. Recent implementation of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has left the future of the CACM unclear. The Central American Free Trade Agreement was signed by five Central American countries, the Dominican Republic, and the United States. The focal point of CAFTA is to created a free trade area similar to that of NAFTA. In addition to the United States, Canada also has relations in Central American trade blocs. Currently under proposal, the Canada – Central American Free Trade Agreement (CA4) would operate much the same as CAFTA with the United States does.
North American nations also take part in inter-continental trade blocs. Mexico takes a part in the G3 Free Trade Agreement with Colombia and Venezuela and has a trade agreement with the EU. The United States has proposed and maintained trade agreements under the Transatlantic Free Trade Area between itself and the European Union; the US-Middle East Free Trade Area between numerous Middle Eastern nations and itself; and the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership between Southeast Asian nations, Australia, and New Zealand.
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“The basis of political economy is non-interference. The only safe rule is found in the self-adjusting meter of demand and supply. Do not legislate. Meddle, and you snap the sinews with your sumptuary laws.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)