The course of events since the implementation of NAFTA has had unexpected elements with significant impacts on North American integration. First has been the rise of China as a larger source of imports and production partner than Mexico. Second has been the rise of security concerns since September 11, 2001. The result has been much stronger integration between Canada and the US than with Mexico.
Migration issues are now linked with security, which has risen to a top priority in the international agenda. While liberalization has furnished strong economic incentives for integration, it has not provided a sufficient guide for the political process, which requires leadership and appropriate institutions to coordinate and regulate the special interest groups. A coherent and effective North American integration would be a valuable asset in the context of global integration and competition, yet the issues involved are quite complex and varied.