If Donald Trump Breaks NAFTA, North America Will Connect Through Sports


The World Cup is underway, and Mexico surprised everyone by defeating Germany, the reigning champions. The people in Mexico City celebrated the victory, and they created a small artificial earthquake, and this tremor was registered on seismographic sensors.

Meanwhile, the United States national team didn’t qualify for the World Cup, but there were celebrations in many of the United States cities as well. Many Americans are supporting the Mexican national soccer team, and according to Sports Illustrated, they are calling it “America’s other team.”

The relationship between the United States, Mexico, and Canada keep improving, and they will host the World Cup in 2026, showing the world that the three countries have become partners on the global stage. But is it like that in the other aspects of life not named sports?

The governments of these countries are on the brink of a trade war. So far, they have been glued together with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but the US president Donald Trump has firmly decided to renegotiate the “worst trade agreement ever.” The negotiations stalled and instead of coming to a joint solution, Trump imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada.

The days before the World Cup announcement, Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a talk in which Trump called Trudeau “weak and dishonest” when Trudeau justified his decision for retaliatory tariffs. And this was nothing compared to what Trump had to say about the Mexican immigrants who are trying to cross the border and enter the United States.

With the World Cup in North America approaching, three countries are becoming closer, but they have never been so distant as well. Even though it is a bit contradictory, these are the facts. Over the last few decades, the United States, Canada, and Mexico have become intertwined to the measure nobody saw it coming. Mexico and Canada are the main export markets for the United States, and they account for around 33 percent of the US trade.

Not many could predict this, but the three countries have turned into one, North American market. Some industries such as cars and appliances are now North American – they are not Canadian, Mexican or from the USA specifically. The production takes place all across the continent, and every country is doing their part. Cars and appliances especially are built by the people of North America, and you cannot find a product which has the personal print of one country only.

This integration of economy is just one of the reasons why the United States became competent in manufacturing. But the production has risen in Canada and Mexico as well, which helped raise wages, pushing many people to the almost non-existent middle class. As you can see, the three countries have been working diligently to improve their economic status and elevate their industries, but their societies also grew fond of each other. And this is seen through sports.

For instance, the National Hockey League has taken place in both Canada and Mexico, while the Major League Baseball has always included at least one Canadian team. Starting from this years, games will be played in Mexico and the first squads to have the privilege are San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers who will go against each other in Monterrey. Furthermore, the National Basketball Association has had a Canadian team as well, and the clubs from the NBA started playing games in Mexico in 2017. Let’s not forget about the National Football League where teams played in Canada from 2008 to 2013, and they also had regular-season games in Mexico City.

Meanwhile, soccer has always been a popular sport in entire North America. Mexicans have been passionate about it for decades, and that passion spilled over to the United States and Canada, countries that are facing a growing interest in popularity of the sport. Moreover, a lot of European stars crossed the continent and played for the MLS teams, and it all started with David Beckham, just recently, Zlatan Ibrahimovic came to the States.

The cultural ties between the United States and Canada are not surprising at all considering that the two countries have the same heritage as former British colonies. Many of these connections had been established before the NAFTA was signed. The people speak the same language, and their economic development is on a similar level. However, the cultural ties between the US and Mexico are growing, and this was something nobody could assume would happen. The two nations have a different history, and the people are not even speaking the same language. Furthermore, legal systems of the two countries differ and the United States is far more progressive than Mexico.

However, by cooperating, the two countries managed to overcome the differences and grow together. Sure, there are still gaps to be filled and issues to be solved, but Mexico and the US have never been closer than they are today. And this also had a positive impact on the relationship between Canada and Mexico.

More than 10 percent of people living in the United States are of Mexican descent whereas almost 2 million US residents are living and working in Mexico. The culture of the two countries, although initially different, connected the people and what they need to realize is that their country’s economies are tied together, and they will grow or decrease together. Also, let’s not forget about the Oscars. The last four out of five Oscars for the best director went to Mexican filmmakers, and that only shows that culture knows no borders.

And then politics meddled in. It is too early to tell whether the tariffs imposed by the US president Donald Trump will be just the obstacle countries will be able to overcome, or it will leave permanent consequences on the relations between the US and Canada and the US and Mexico. The negotiations to reinvent NAFTA so that it will be more in favor of the US are going to be tough, and even though Canada and Mexico have been the friends of America, they will not give up every benefit they have from the current trade agreement just to please Trump.

NAFTA is going to survive in one form or another. But we cannot assume what POTUS’ next move is, and he can always pull the United States out of the deal, which would be disastrous for every country involved. So many companies have made major investments in join manufacturing all around the continent and to break these ties suddenly would cost those companies money, and people would lose jobs. Furthermore, all three countries would lose competitiveness and the connections they have been making in the past decades.

Even if NAFTA ceased to exist, this wouldn’t stop the three countries from staying culturally interwoven. When looking at the future of these nations, there is the light at the end of the tunnel. Current trade tariffs will end at some point whether Trump decides to abandon them or the people are bound to wait for the next US president. The 2026 North American World Cup is taking place, and it is the event that will rejoice the entire continent and show the world how close Canada, Mexico, and the United States actually are.


As one of the founders of Knjaz Milos tries to bring all the latest news regarding politics. He loves history and is passionate about writing.
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