The free trade agreement met with far less opposition in the United States. Polls showed that up to 40% of Americans did not know that the agreement had been signed. The agreement law was submitted to Congress for “rapid” adoption by President Reagan on July 26, 1988, meaning that it could be accepted or rejected, but could not be amended. The United States-Canada Free-Trade Agreement Act of 1988 passed the House of Representatives by yes Nay: 366-40, passed in the House of Representatives on August 9, 1988, and voted in the Senate by yes Nay. 83-9, September 19, 1988.  The Act was signed by the President on September 28, 1988 and was one of the first trade agreements on trade in services. It also included a dispute resolution mechanism for a fair and timely resolution of trade disputes. October 4 marks an important date in Canada-U.S. Trade relations. In 1987, the two countries approved the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA). Negotiations for a free trade agreement with the United States began in 1986. The two nations agreed on a landmark agreement that put Canada and the United States at the forefront of trade liberalization.
From 1935 to 1980, the two nations concluded a series of bilateral trade agreements that sharply reduced tariffs in both countries.  The most important of these agreements was the 1960s automotive trade agreement (also known as the auto pact).   The main provisions of NAFTA called for a gradual reduction in tariffs, tariffs and other trade barriers between the three Member States, with some tariffs being abolished immediately and others over a 15-year period. The agreement guaranteed duty-free access for a wide range of industrial products and goods traded between the signatories. “Domestic goods” have been granted to products imported from other NAFTA countries and prohibit all governments, local or provincial, from imposing taxes or tariffs on these products. The debate in Canada on the implementation of the negotiated agreement was very controversial. Canada`s opposition Liberal Party, led by John Turner, strongly opposed the agreement and said it would “tear it apart” if it became Prime Minister. The opposition New Democratic Party, led by Ed Broadbent, also strongly opposed the agreement. Both parties criticized the fact that the agreement would infringe On Canadian sovereignty and argued that Canada would effectively become the “51st state” of the United States if the agreement were implemented.