Next week, President Obama will make his third trip to Mexico in as many years to attend the North American Leaders’ Summit alongside Canadian Prime Minister Harper and Mexican President Peña Nieto. Amidst a flurry of retrospectives on the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the summit offers a timely opportunity to ask two questions: 1) What is the current state of North American trade? and 2) What can the three countries do together to position the continent for success in the global economy over the next 20 years?

Our recent report, Metro North America, offers some answers to the first question. Trade volumes between the United States and Canada and Mexico are massive and growing, due in no small part to the fact that manufacturers now treat the continent as one seamless market for research, design, production, and distribution. Firms—both large multinationals like Bombardier and Volkswagen and smaller firms like 3D Robotics and Vitro—stretch their supply chains across North America to maximize product quality and minimize product cost.  As a result, the three countries now make technologically advanced products in a globally distinct trilateral partnership.

via How to Strengthen NAFTA’s Next 20 Years | Brookings Institution.