Organisational Structure

NAFTA’s governing principles are outlined in the legal text, as well as the two side agreements on labour and the environment. The central institution of NAFTA is the Free Trade Commission, which is composed of ministerial representatives from member countries. This body is chiefly responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Agreement, and may act as an interpretative body when confusion arises from clauses within the legal text.

The Commission oversees NAFTA’s working groups and committees, which monitor the implementation of specific chapters of the Agreement and provide information on associated policy implications. Typically comprised of public servants from member countries, most of these groups and committees have been inactive since implementation of NAFTA concluded in 2008.

NAFTA is also served by a Permanent Secretariat, which administers the dispute settlement provisions of the Agreement. The Secretariat has an office in each member country.

The side agreements on labour and the environment also led to the creation of the Commission for Labor Cooperation and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation.

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