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Abstract

Developing countries are participating in bilateral and multilateral trade agreements in record numbers. Despite their eagerness to improve market access, fears remain that trade liberalization with large industrialized nations will erode infant industrial sectors, hindering the process of economic development. Empirical evidence from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Canada, and Mexico has not supported fears that trade liberalization with industrialized nations slows economic development in less-developed countries. NAFTA trade flows and foreign direct investment into Mexico expanded at a greater rate following NAFTA implementation, taking into account real exchange rate changes and capital flight during the 1995 peso crisis. Like Mexico, Jordan's improved access to the large U.S. market is expected to increase opportunities for Jordanian exports, attract foreign investment, and stimulate economic development with trade as the engine of growth. This study compares and contrasts Mexico's experience under NAFTA with Jordan's potential under the U.S.- Jordan Free Trade Agreement.

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