Globalization has brought many positive things to Mexico, especially since the creation of the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Mexico went from being a developing nation to a modern economy. Mexico’s share of the American market has grown to 12.2%-its highest level since NAFTA came into force. NAFTA exempts Mexico from the American import tariffs that clobber Chinese exporters. The country’s car exports are booming as never before, up 10.5% on their level of 2008. The Delphi corporation, an auto-parts plant in Ciudad Juarez, has expanded and has been able to employ 70,000 Mexicans, who every day receive up to 70 million U.S. made components to assemble into parts. The wages are not princely by U.S. standards—an assembly line worker with two years’ experience earns about $1.90 an hour. But that’s triple Mexico’s minimum wage, and Delphi jobs are among the most coveted in Juarez. Since NAFTA has been in place, its gross domestic product went from $403 billion to $594 billion. Exports grew three fold, from $52 billion to $161 billion today. Mexico’s per capita income rose 24%, to just over $4,000-which is roughly 10 times China’s. Mexico’s economy is the ninth largest in the world now. Mexico’s government went from Singly-party dominated to multi-party democracy. Would the Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI) have fallen from seven decades in power in 2000 if Mexico hadn’t signed a treaty requiring government transparency, equal treatment for domestic and foreign investors, and international mediation of labor, environmental and other disputes? It’s hard to believe that democracy would have come quickly to Mexico without NAFTA.
"Mexico: was NAFTA worth it?" by Geri smith and Cristina Lindblad "Mexico's Economy" Monterry, from PRINT EDITION