USTR - NAFTA at 10: Myth - NAFTA Was a Failure for Mexico
Office of the United States Trade Representative


NAFTA at 10: Myth - NAFTA Was a Failure for Mexico

· NAFTA has resulted in expanded Mexican exports, higher wages for Mexican workers, less poverty, more foreign investment, and a stronger agriculture sector.

· Mexico exported $143 billion to its NAFTA partners in 2001, an increase of 232 percent from 1993… twice as fast as export growth to the rest of the world.

· Growth in Mexican exports accounted for more than half of the increase in Mexico’s real national income during the period from 1993 to 2001.

· One of every five people in Mexico is employed in export-oriented jobs, and fully half of the 3.5 million new jobs generated in Mexico in 1995-2000 were a result of NAFTA and export growth.

· Employment in Mexico’s export sector pays 37 percent more than jobs in the rest of the Mexican manufacturing sector.

· And Mexico has benefited from increased foreign investment: for 1994 to 2000, Mexico’s annual average capital inflow reached $11.7 billion, three times higher than in the same period before NAFTA.

· While NAFTA is criticized for “hurting Mexican farmers”, in fact Mexican farm production increased by 50 percent from 1993 to 2001. Growth sectors in Mexico include:

o Pork (up 24 percent); Beef (up 13 percent); Chicken (up 80 percent); Fruit (up 27 percent); and Vegetables (up 36 percent)

· Mexican farm exports to the U.S. have increased by 103 percent from 1993-2000, and are growing twice as fast as they did before NAFTA. Mexico used to run an agricultural trade deficit with the U.S. It now runs a small surplus.

· Much has been written about the problems of Mexican corn growers. But most U.S. corn sold to Mexico is yellow corn used as livestock feed. Mexican farmers mostly grow white corn for human consumption.

· Many of the product sectors in Latin America worried about U.S. competition are in sectors that do NOT receive direct benefits from recent U.S. farm legislation, such as beef, pork, poultry and fruit.

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