North American Agrifood Market Integration Consortium
Market integration is a term that is often used but seldom defined. It exists when product flows between countries are on the same terms and conditions as within countries. It implies that products can be traded between distinct markets or countries on the same basis as they are within a country. It is a product of globalization, of technological change, freer trade, and of institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and trade agreements. Despite its pervasive nature, market integration, like free trade and outsourcing, is a controversial topic. Perhaps this is because it fosters change in competative relationship among peoples and countries.
The objective of NAAMIC is to foster dialog among policy makers, agrifood industry leaders, and academics on agriculture and food-related market integration issues among NAFTA countries. More specific objectives include:
- To share information and to foster interaction among industry, academic and government stakeholders on issues relating to market integration.
- To foster research on market integration.
- To evaluate impacts and interactions of country policies, programs, and regulations on market integration.
- To identify, define, and evaluate policies that could contribute to market integration.
NAAMIC accomplishes its objectives mainly through the conduct of annual workshops with increased potential for support of original scholarly thought and research on topics and issues relating to market integration. Papers are commissioned in preparation for these workshops that serve the basis for discussion by industry, government and academic participants. The papers and related discussion are designed to develop lessons form current and past experiences, while looking to the future of NAFTA and additional alliances in consideration of contemporary and anticipated agrifood industry developments.
NAAMIC grew out of the Policy Disputes Information Consortium, which conducted nine annual workshops that identified and evaluated the conditions that have led to trade disputes, the economic and legal foundations of trade disputes, the policies that foster trade disputes, and the means of resolving them. The NAAMIC workshops are designed to move the discussion to a more encompassing and proactive discussion of the concept of market integration, its extent, the forces encouraging and impeding market integration, and the impacts of public and private sector policies, programs, and regulations on market integration.
These series of workshops are organized through the direction and leadership of a tri-national committee of academic and government representatives. These events are possible thanks to the kind and continuous support from the governments of the NAFTA countries, from Farm Foundation, and from in-kind contributions by the participating universities and from some of the participants.