How beer explains 20 years of NAFTA’s devastating effects on Mexico

on 03/01/14 at 12:24 pm

Booze News

Analysis: The North American Free Trade Agreement was the poster child for the wonders of free trade. The reality is another story.

NAFTAMexico’s largest agribusiness association invited me to Aguascalientes to participate in its annual forum in October. The theme for this year’s gathering was “New Perspectives on the Challenge of Feeding the World.”

But it was unclear why Mexico, which now imports 42 percent of its food, would be worried about feeding the world. It wasn’t doing so well feeding its own people.

In part, you can thank the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for that. Twenty years ago, on January 1, 1994, NAFTA took effect, and Mexico was the poster child for the wonders of free trade. The promises seemed endless.

Mexico would enter the “First World” of developed countries on the crest of rising trade and foreign investment. Its dynamic manufacturing sector would create so many jobs it would not only end the US immigration problem but absorb millions of peasant farmers freed from their unproductive toil in the fields. Mexico could import cheap corn and export electronics.

So much for promises.

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