Before the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed in 1994, trade between the United States, Canada, and Mexico was limited by various barriers and regulations. However, as NAFTA gradually eliminated these barriers, the economic landscape of North America began to shift significantly.

One of the main barriers to trade before NAFTA was tariffs. Each country had its own set of tariffs, which made it expensive for companies to import and export goods from one country to another. NAFTA gradually eliminated these tariffs, making it easier and cheaper for companies to do business across borders. This led to an increase in trade between the three countries, which in turn led to increased economic growth.

Another barrier to trade prior to NAFTA was regulations. Each country had different regulations for how goods were produced and sold, making it difficult for companies to navigate the different systems. NAFTA sought to eliminate these regulations and create a more streamlined system for companies looking to do business across borders. This made it easier for companies to expand their operations, hire more workers, and increase their overall productivity.

NAFTA also had an impact on labor markets. As companies began to expand their operations across the border, they were able to take advantage of lower labor costs in Mexico. This led to some jobs being shifted away from the United States and Canada, and towards Mexico. While this was beneficial for companies looking to lower their production costs, it also led to a decline in some industries in the United States and Canada. However, overall employment levels increased as a result of increased trade and economic growth.

In conclusion, before NAFTA was signed, the economic landscape of North America was characterized by barriers and regulations that limited trade and economic growth. As NAFTA gradually eliminated these barriers, the region experienced increased trade, economic growth, and employment. While there were some adverse effects, NAFTA ultimately had a positive impact on the economies of all three countries involved. As we look towards the future, it remains to be seen what impact the renegotiation of NAFTA will have on the region`s economy.