Beyond expanding consumer selection over the past two decades, NAFTA has increased trade between the three countries by about 3.5 times compared to 1994, according to a 2013 Associated Press report. Some small businesses have been directly affected by NAFTA. In the past, large companies have always had an advantage over small ones, because large companies could afford to build and maintain offices and/or production sites in Mexico and avoid so many old trade restrictions on exports. In addition, NAFTA laws provided that U.S. service providers who wanted to do business in Mexico had to establish a physical presence there, which was simply too expensive for small businesses. Small businesses were stuck, they couldn`t afford to build, and they couldn`t afford export tariffs. The economic downturns of 2001 and 2009, for example, likely played a role in the decline in U.S. exports to Canada and imports from Canada and Mexico, as shown in Chart 2. One of the most controversial aspects of NAFTA concerns the Mexican agricultural sector and the perception that NAFTA has caused more mexican labour movements in this sector than in other economic sectors. Many critics of NAFTA say the deal has led to a large number of job losses in Mexican agriculture, particularly in the corn sector.
One study estimates that these losses were more than one million jobs lost in corn production between 1991 and 2000.67 However, while some of the changes in the agricultural sector are a direct consequence of NAFTA, when Mexico began importing more cheaper products from the United States, many of the changes made to Mexico`s unilateral agricultural reform measures in the 1980s and early 1990s can be attributed.