NAFTA still very controversial in Mexico
To paraphrase Sgt Peppers, it was 20 years ago that NAFTA taught a new generation to play. Yet, it is still very controversial in my Mexico, as my friend Alfredo Corchado reported today:
"This week marks the 20th anniversary since the accord took effect for the United States, Mexico and Canada.
"Mexico has a world-class manufacturing sector, and NAFTA has certainly helped bring this industry up to the highest global standards," said Pia Orrenius, an economist and migration specialist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. "Would this have happened without NAFTA? Maybe, but it probably would have taken longer. ... Overall, I think Mexicans see a brighter future for their nation than they did 20 years ago.""
Yes, I agree that NAFTA has been good for both Mexico and the US. At the same time, I find the criticism to be very similar on both sides of the border.
Up here, manufacturers complain that jobs were outsource to Mexico. On the other hand, companies in Texas say that NAFTA has opened new markets.
Down in Mexico, small companies complain that NAFTA has flooded stores with Chinese products. At the same, engineers praise NAFTA for making Mexico more competitive around the world.
As I posted here a few weeks ago, I'm still cautiously optimistic that NAFTA will work out, especially now that Mexico has passed energy reforms.
Nevertheless, NAFTA shows again just how complicated these trade agreements can be. They look good on blackboard or spreadsheets. However, they are always different on the production floor, specially when you have to tell someone that he is losing his job.