Forbes Magazine contributor, Joel Kotkin, sees America’s power in the twenty-first century resulting from the economic integration that began in 1994 upon the signing of the NAFTA. Unlike some who decry and bemoan the signing of the historic free trade treaty by the three nations, the author sees it as the source of future American and hemispheric economic power.

As the world’s largest free trade zone, with four hundred and fifty million inhabitants and an aggregate GDP of seventeen trillion dollars, resources that are located within the NAFTA region, particularly energy, have the potential of not only making the U.S. less dependent upon resources from unstable areas of the world, most notably the Middle East, but also to fuel a resurgence of energy intensive manufacturing.

In addition to tar sand an other types of petroleum fuel finds in both the U.S. and Canada, Mexico may be on the verge of opening its energy sector open to more foreign investment. If a proposal made by Mexico’s president Enrique Pena Nieto makes it though the country’s congress, oil output by the United State’s southern neighbor has the potential to expand by twenty to thirty percentage points within the foreseeable future. In addition to providing more energy to fuel the growth of manufacturing jobs in NAFTA partner countries, more employment in the energy sector itself.

Kotkin believes that developing the NAFTA region’s energy resources, in addition to creating an environment in which regional investors will stimulate growth in plant capacity for manufactures, will also help to make the United States, Canada and Mexico a magnet for the attraction of capital from both Asia and Europe.

The full original article can be read at Forbes.