Elizabeth B. Stein, Debora L. Spar
In the aftermath of World War II, the countries of the industrialized world engaged in an unprecedented round of institution-building, through which historical barriers to international trade, especially tariffs, came tumbling down. The GATT has reshaped the environment of world trade to such an extent that international trade flows have exploded. Even as global trade has become more integrated, however, a second round of institutions, regional rather than global, has emerged. The most recent and largest of the major regional institutions, NAFTA, was signed on December 17, 1992, and took effect in early 1994. This case examines the effect of this radically new institutional context on three different firms, each representing a different industry and country.