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Abstract

Until two years ago, most citizens of Canada, the United States and Mexico experienced terrorism as a distant reality viewed from the safety of their living rooms. Today, North Americans encounter constant reminders of the aggravation and economic costs imposed on them by the now real threat of terrorism. The United States, the most obvious target for new terrorist activity, has responded by tightening its border security with all countries including its NAFTA partners.(2) Canada and Mexico joined the NAFTA to obtain preferred and more secure access to the United States market. The increased threat of terrorist activity in North America raises three crucial questions for NAFTA members. First, how real is a bioterrorism threat? Second, how can the United States maintain access to its market for its NAFTA partners and at the same time meet its legitimate security concerns? Third, what are the potential economic effects of a bioterrorism attack on North America? While it is generally assumed that the United States would be the primary target of a terrorist attack, Canada, Mexico or all three NAFTA countries could be targeted.

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