Carving a Path to [North American] Regional Governance
Research By D. Niwa
The United States, Canada, and
Mexico are being steered toward yet another "process" of
regional integration via proposals to form a North
American "customs union" with a
"common external tariff."  
A "customs union" is one in a series of steps that lead nation-participants toward establishing regional government. In its 2003 Labour Review , the International Labour Organization (ILO; a United Nations agency) describes such a regional entity as a "supra-national authority whose decisions are binding for member states." (p. 63)
The "supra-national authority" is the final stage after taking specific actions that are part of ła generally accepted classification system for integration" that consists "of several steps or successive phases of increasing complexity.˛ (p. 63)
The last level -- when a "supra-national"/aka regional government is set up -- is where a nation ceases to be sovereign / autonomous.
The 2003 Labour Review cites 6 levels of the economic integration process (p. 63) [emphasis added]:
"preferential economic areas or zones, where
trade advantages exist among the participating
countries, but without negotiations regarding key
trade aspects between the signers."
[Note that on page 64 it says: "... in the common market, the free circulation of workers in all member countries is a deliberate objective, something that does not occur with free trade agreements. In Europe, which was a common market before becoming an economic union, workers circulated well before capitals and services did so." ]
"The three governments should negotiate and complete within five years a North American customs union with a common external tariff (CET)." <http://www.senate.gov/~foreign/testimony/2005/PastorTestimony050609.pdf>
"The Task Force's central recommendation is establishment by 2010 of a North American economic and security of community, the boundaries of which would be defined by a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter."
"I think the vision
defined in that [CFR] report is one of three
sovereign nations cooperating with each other to
deepen economic integration, to
create a common external tariff . . . "
European Union: Stages of Development (pdf)
 2003 Labour Review, Latin America and the Caribbean, (1st edition 2003, ISBN 92-2-115256-1 (web pdf version)). Read chapter titled "Labour Aspects Associated with Integration Processes and Free Trade Agreements in the Region," pages 63-70. <http://www.oit.org.pe/portal/documentos/labour_overview_2003.pdf> Note: link no longer works but the document was captured and now resides on the channelingreality website (link above embedded in text).