The experience of the Mexican CAMPesinos of NAFTA after nearly two decades leaves them under no illusions about promises on agricultural free trade and they have placed themselves on the front line against this agreement. Since NAFTA, floods of cheap, subsidized and often genetically modified U.S. corn have arrived in Mexico, sold at prices below the production costs that campesinos cannot compete with. This has led to mass displacement, poverty and hunger, pushed people into cities and maquiladoras (Sweatshop factories) and forced many people to risk their lives looking for employment across the increasingly militarized border to the United States. Trade agreements may cover or exclude different goods and services. The selection of covered goods and services is adapted during trade negotiations and is agreed upon by all parties. For the United States, agriculture has been an important part of most, if not all, trade agreements; And agriculture is a sector that has certainly benefited from more open trade, through trade agreements, and a territory where the United States traditionally has trade surpluses. Agricultural lobbies generally criticize the tendency of bilateral free trade agreements to exclude sensitive foods and agricultural products. Today, free trade agreements are often used to impose open markets on agricultural products, which were excluded in previous trade negotiations, as well as to target non-tariff barriers such as food standards.
Many free trade agreements are not limited to agriculture, but, like the WTO, they often contain provisions or chapters on health and plant health standards (SPS) and technical barriers to trade (CTOs) that limit the power of local communities and national governments to set their own standards for biosecurity, food security and other health concerns. In the meantime, the power and control of transnational agricultural enterprises over seeds and biodiversity is being encouraged by WTO intellectual property rules plus (see Vers) section on intellectual property, by investment liberalization provisions that facilitate the acquisition of land and domestic food production by foreign companies and investors (see investments). Agriculture has been controversial in other bilateral free trade agreements.