On January 1, 1994, Canada, Mexico and the United States passed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Promoted to Congress by the Clinton administration, with the assurance that it would give rise to more jobs – exactly how many though, is not precisely known. Yet, according to the Journal of Commerce, the U.S. went from having a $5.5 billion trade surplus with Mexico before NAFTA, to having a massive $16 billion trade deficit today. At the same time, it is estimated that 400,000 Americans have lost manufacturing jobs because of NAFTA within the treaty’s first three years, that’s about the same number of jobs which have been created in the Mexican maquiladoras. Instead of sharing of the wealth and profit, one might think that there has been a big transfer of wealth from north to south of the border and that Mexican laborers have profited at the expense and torment of their American counterparts. The reality is that working conditions, wage, health and safety standards in Mexico have deteriorated. One American employee for a steering-wheel plan made approximately $10.46 per hour, compared to his Mexican counterpart, who makes about $0.75 per hour. Within the agreement, it stated “the government of Canada, the government of the United Mexican States and the government of the United States of America resolved to establish a free trade area.” In addition, NAFTA also determined to: Strengthen the special bonds of friendship and cooperation among the nations; Contribute to the harmonious development and expansion of world trade and provide a catalyst to broader international cooperation; Create an expanded and secure market for the goods and services produced in their territories; Establish clear and mutually beneficial rules governing their trade; Create new employment opportunities, improve working conditions and living standards in their respective territories; Ensure a predictable comme…
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