Today’s NAFTA summit won’t provide a breakthrough, Baker Institute expert says


David Ruth

Jeff Falk

Today’s NAFTA summit won’t provide a breakthrough, Baker Institute expert says
Payan: The North American project has stalled

HOUSTON – (Feb. 19, 2014) – President Barack Obama met today with the leaders of Mexico and Canada to discuss the future of the 20-year-old North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA), and the future of the act is uncertain, according to Tony Payan, a fellow for Mexico studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and director of the Baker Institute’s Mexico Center.


“North American leaders met against numerous constraints to push the relationship further, including differing policy opinions on key issues like energy, immigration, security and extra-regional trade,” Payan said. “The North American project has stalled, and it is unlikely that the summit will provide a substantial breakthrough on any subject.”

In addition to being a Baker Institute fellow, Payan is an associate professor of political science at the University of Texas at El Paso and serves on the graduate faculty of the Universidad Autónoma de Juárez in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. His area of study is international relations, with an emphasis on U.S. and Mexican foreign policy and U.S.-Mexico relations. He is the author of “The Three U.S.-Mexico Border Wars: Drugs, Immigration and Homeland Security” and other books.

The Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for media who want to schedule an interview with Payan. For more information, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at or 713-348-6775.


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Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top 15 university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.