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Thinking the unthinkable: The end of NAFTA
by Andrew S.E.Erickson
October 30, 2017

During our centuries long relationship, never has Mexico nor the United States had a better relationship than we have had during these last 25 years. This is due to NAFTA. Although we have had difficult moments, since the negotiation of NAFTA, the agreement has given us a frameworks to talk and think about our relationship as neighbors and economic allies. This is not only between the two countries. In the same manner that the tripod offers stability, the presence of Canada, the third leg, has increased the persistence of the agreement. With the passage of time, an increasingly powerful economic coherence dynamic has developed in North America between its NAFTA members.

Every economic framework that has existed has had winners and losers. Industries flourish and then fade. Exchange rates rise and fall. Politicians have different priorities and find themselves llied with different constituencies or interest groups. NAFTA has not been immune to any of these occurrences but has lasted and succeeded despite these challenges. It has served all three countries well.

Nor is the United States' industrial base immune to globalization trends that has moved large sectors of our economy towards lower-income countries. This process has been difficult for inefficient US industries that could not compete - just as it has been difficult for Mexican farmers and some Mexican industries. The give and take between Mexican and American interests has been fierce and sometimes hostile. This will continue even if NAFTA survives or if Trump ends the agreement. It is unavoidable.

As an American patriot, diplomatic and Californian, from the disastrous arrival of Trump in the White House, I had hoped that, despite his rhetoric, he would not be stupid enough to end NAFTA. The benefits of the agreement are so clear that I expected Trump's advisers would put an end his ill-informed attacks. I have said many times, publicly and on the pages of ZETA, that despite his rhetoric, NAFTA would survive.

Although now I do not feel so sure this will happen. The irresponsible actions of the US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, demonstrate the lack of understanding about the value of NAFTA and the White House's preference for promoting ignorant populism, rather than forming a coherent policy. The stupidity of Trump Team is unthinkable.

Last week, the Washington Post obtained an internal policy document from the Trump Team written by Peter Navarro, director of the White House Office on Trade and Manufacturing Policy. It alleges that the impact of NAFTA on the United States has led to "increases in abortions, marital abuse, divorce and infertility," in American workers. Who could think that NAFTA led to more American men beating their wives? Apparently, the Trump White House discovered it.

Precisely because it is a fair treaty, NAFTA has never been particularly popular in all three countries. Many times, when I made presentations in the United States or Mexico, I asked the public about for who they thought NAFTA was more favorable - the United States or Mexico? - The reaction was always the same: in Mexico they always said that they lost; whereas in the United States they always said that they were the disadvantaged. In my opinion, this is the definition of a good business deal: both sides think that the other came out ahead!

We can still save NAFTA, but Baja California businessmen and politicians have to talk to their comrades north of the border. Where is the voice of the Republican mayor of San Diego? Where are the voices of the many American owners of Tijuana maquiladoras who are threatened by Trump's rhetoric? How about the voices of the thousands of Republicans who have houses in Los Cabos and other parts of Baja and Mexico? It's worth fighting for NAFTA. We have to start this fight today.
Más vale pocos pelos, pero bien peinados.
All three parties being unhappy is not the sign of a good agreement.  Andrew does not account for Mexico's security failures which have surely impacted its ability to compete.  The costs of bribes to do business in Mexico and security to protect employees and in-transit cargo makes the Mexican leg of his stool much shorter and less stable than the USA and Canada and a revised NAFTA needs to reflect that..  Lower labor costs alone aren't enough.
BajaNoMas= News, Facts, Stats, Videos, Pics and Links- because presenting the truth to the public is not a negative campaign "Decir la verdad no es ninguna campaña negra".


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