A rather experienced Mexican president, Porfirio Diaz – he was in office 36 years – portrayed his nation's basic attributes in the following way: "Pobre México, tan lejos de Dios, tan cerca de los Estados Unidos." ("Poor Mexico, so far from God, so near the United States.") It's this basic fact of life, of course, that led to NAFTA – the North American Free Trade Agreement. In this article, I will provide an overview of the trends that are behind NAFTA. I will also address the challenges and opportunities that this newborn free trade area creates for US. and Canadian firms.