How to fix NAFTA

09/27/16 Politico

bill_clinton_signing_nafta
Clinton signing NAFTA

This election year has seen the most concerted, dangerous attack on free trade since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993. From both the right and the left, leading presidential candidates have savaged NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-country pact among Pacific nations currently awaiting a vote in Congress. No matter what happens in November, these underlying political sensitivities are not going away.

Critics of NAFTA and the TPP are wrong to suggest that free trade is harmful for America. On the contrary, a full retreat into autarky has almost always hurt the U.S. economy.

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What Can Mexico Do About Trump?

09/27/16 The New York Times 

Border - MexicoWhen Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, the Mexican secretary of the economy, came to talk to me last week about trade and the American elections, I didn’t expect him to drag up the old spat between Mexico and the United States over trucks.

Back when it signed on to the North American Free Trade Agreement more than 20 years ago, the United States committed that in the year 2000 it would lift restrictions that kept Mexican trucks from hauling cargo inside the United States, forcing them instead to dump their loads at the border. But when the time came, under pressure from the Teamsters and the union’s allies in Congress, Washington backed out.

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Forget Trump’s Wall: For Mexico, the Election Is About Nafta

09/23/16 The New York Times

mexico-usa-flag-montageTOLUCA, Mexico — In this industrial city near the Mexican capital, workers gather outside the gates of a sprawling Chrysler plant for a late shift assembling Dodge Journey S.U.V.s. It’s a sought-after job, with carworkers in Mexico earning an average of about $5 an hour, compared to the nation’s minimum wage of less than $4 for the whole day. Yet it is a fifth of what autoworkers make in Detroit, and that has helped Mexico become a global powerhouse in car production. The finished products can be seen in the parking lot: thousands of shiny new S.U.V.s, black, white, silver, red, waiting to be shipped around the planet, particularly to the United States, where Americans bought 100,000 Journeys last year.

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Mexico considers bill to revoke US treaties if Trump wins election

09/05/16 Financial Times

Dario Lopez-Mills - AP (2)So you want to play hardball Mr Trump? Mexico is to consider revoking a series of bilateral treaties — including the 1848 agreement that transferred half its territory to the US — if the Republican candidate wins the presidency and rips up the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to a bill to be presented to Congress.

The initiative, to be proposed on Tuesday by Armando Ríos Piter, a leftwing senator, follows last week’s much-criticised meeting between Mexico’s President Enrique Peña and the US presidential contender Donald Trump, which inflamed public opinion and sparked a cabinet rift.
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Young people thrive in a new Mexico, even as the shadows of violence linger

08/29/2016 The Star

Mexican Flag XXLMEXICO CITY—Tattooed hipsters on bikes. Same-sex couples walking hand-in-hand. Cafés with almond milk coffee and gluten-free bread. Artisanal mescal — three dozen different kinds.

This is not the Mexico most Canadians know. But in the chic eateries and cultural centres of the gentrifying La Roma neighbourhood in Mexico City, another side of the country is in full bloom.

“The city has such an intoxicating mix of culture, emotion, food, design and architecture that has really exploded in the last two or three years,” says Susie Neil, standing outside Toscano café, where she is producing a tequila commercial for a Canadian client.

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Despite fears, Mexico’s manufacturing boom helps some U.S. workers

08/25/16 The Seattle Times

Industrial PlantSAN LUIS POTOSI, Mexico——Enrique Zarate, 19, had spent just a year in college when he landed an apprenticeship at a new BMW facility in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. If he performs well, in a year he’ll win a well-paid position, with benefits, working with robots at the company’s newest plant.

Within a decade or so, most of the BMW 3 series cars Americans buy will probably come from Mexico, built by people like Zarate.

“When you start with such little experience, and get such a big salary, it’s unbelievable,” said Zarate, whose father is a taxi driver and mother is a housewife.

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U.S.-Mexico Agricultural Trade: Opportunities for Making Free Trade Under NAFTA More Agile

08/22/2016 USDA Economic Research Service

us mex flagAs part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico and the United States gradually eliminated all tariffs and quotas governing bilateral agricultural trade during a 14-year transition period from January 1, 1994, to January 1, 2008. The same period saw growing cooperation between the two countries on sanitary, phytosanitary, and other regulatory issues affecting the agricultural and processed food sectors—a process that continues to this day. Together, this sweeping trade liberalization and ongoing regulatory cooperation made possible a dramatic increase in U.S.-Mexico agricultural trade.

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