Profile of a Trilateral Partnership


Georgetown University Trilateral Partnership
with Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México

The main goals of this project are: (1) to strengthen teaching and research capabilities of participating faculty from Carleton University, Georgetown University, and Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México ( ITAM) on topics of hemispheric trade, (2) to establish a NAFTA Studies Program, and (3) to inform students, policymakers, politicians and businessmen in the three member countries about the implications and importance of regional free trade. Other key features of the project include curriculum development and an annual NAFTA Student Seminar bringing together American, Canadian and Mexican students hosted on a rotating basis by one of the three partner institutions. The project, funded in FY95, will be completed by August 1999.

Over the years the NAFTA fora have provided a dynamic space where some of the most important regional events affecting the prospects for continued trade and integration have been addressed. In each NAFTA member country, experts in relevant fields have lectured audiences of policy makers, business people, academics, and students. In 1995, for example, before support was granted by USIA, the NAFTA Student Seminar in Mexico City served as a focal point to exchange ideas and opinions with the public and private sectors in Mexico. The over-riding theme was the progress made by Mexico in overcoming the 1994-1995 peso crisis. The North American Labor Side Agreement was also assessed. In Canada a year later, the seminar addressed problems of countervailing duties and of cultural issues. In 1997, the NAFTA Seminar was held in Washington, D.C. At this time discussion centered around NAFTA in the context of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, and on hemispheric trade in the multilateral and global contexts. Back in Mexico in 1998, the focus of the seminar was the role of NAFTA and trade in Mexico's economic recovery. The most recent one in April 1999 returned to Carleton University, coinciding with the trilateral trade ministerial meeting of the three NAFTA member states. This seminar assessed NAFTA after five years and looked ahead to the next five years. A highlight was a breakfast meeting with the NAFTA Trade Ministers at which one student from each institution reported on topics covered during the week's sessions. The Ministers responded to questions on a range of issues.

Participants in the Georgetown University Trilateral NAFTA program
(Participants in the Georgetown University Trilateral NAFTA Program)

Each year, with support from their institutions, six to eight students are included as participants in these annual NAFTA Student Seminar. They are selected through a rigorous and competitive process. After four years of this project close to 100 students have participated. According to the U.S. project director, Dr. John Bailey, the Student Seminars constitute an important highlight of students' educational experiences.

In the words of one participant from Carleton University in the NAFTA Student Seminar in Mexico City: "...I consider it a very valuable and wide-ranging education experience. NAFTA issues and problems with North American integration were put forth and advanced in a diverse setting that far exceeded any standard NAFTA classes or seminars. I became much more aware and conscious of national differences and sensitivities that were often apparent when examining a certain issue or topic. I was exposed to the third side of NAFTA, the Mexican angle that few Canadians are aware of or understand. While Mexico is very different, it is still a developing country with its unique cultural, economy and society, there are many similarities between Canada and Mexico, especially with our relationship relative to the U.S..."

Furthermore, students have reported that the NAFTA seminar has made their job search easier.

In addition to the above-mentioned activities organized by the partner institutions, classrooms from ITAM and Carleton were linked on eight occasions in one semester. During this time, students in Mexico and Canada followed the same course curriculum and used the e-mail to work on their group assignments.

Other institutional benefits:

Curriculum development
Faculty are exchanging syllabi and reading lists for their classes as well as providing information to assess course revision and development of case studies.

Teaching methodology
Team teaching is now a norm in the partnership. During the spring of 1998 and again during the spring of 2000, faculty from Carleton, ITAM and Texas A&M Universities are offering a trilateral course on NAFTA.

Other institutional benefits and spin-off activities include an increased interest in hemispheric trade issues reflected in Georgetown's partnership with the Trade Unit of the Organization of American States and the World Trade Organization to offer advanced training seminars for trade officials in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Individual faculty participants have undertaken research projects. Research projects have also served as supporting materials for classroom teaching and as reference materials for policy makers in the three countries. Examples of single authored and collaborative research include the:

-Mexican auto and auto-parts industries (Dr. Molot, Carleton University)

-Bombardier's unsuccessful bid for a contract to build subway cars for Mexico City's second subway line (Dr. Molot, Carleton University)

-Reconstruction from a game-theoretic approach of the NAFTA negotiations as viewed from the perspective of each of the three countries (Dr. Max Cameron, Carleton University)

-Economic security and financial turbulence in the Post-NAFTA era (Dr. Max Cameron, Carleton University)

-Subregional effects of accelerated trade and economic integration between the United States and Mexico (Dr. John Bailey, Georgetown University) -Relationship between organized crime and democratic governance in Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican borderlands (Dr. John Bailey, Georgetown University)

-Mexico's ongoing telecommunications privatization and deregulation and its impact on North American economic restructuring and corporate strategy (Prof. Jonathan Doh, Georgetown University)

-Mexico's limited opening of the electricity generation industry as a strategy to meet the country's growing energy needs and the impact of this process on North American independent power companies (Prof. Jonathan Doh, Georgetown)

-Resolution of the Cozumel pier environmental case, an issue brought to the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation, a NAFTA institution created by the Supplemental Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (Prof. Jonathan Doh, Georgetown)

-The institutionalization process in U.S. Mexican Relations in the areas of trade, environment and labor affairs (Dr. Rafael de Castro, Instituto Technologico Autonomo de Mexico)

-Comparison of Mexican and Canadian Banking systems examining market developments and regulatory methods (Dr. Duncan Wood, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México)

-Federalism and Economic Integration: The Quebec Controversy (Dr. John Kline, Georgetown University)

During these four years, participating institutions have received additional funding for NAFTA-related research projects from public and private institutions, which include the Hewlet Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the International Motor Vehicle Program of MIT, and the Ford Foundation-Mexico.

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