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NAFTA links 450 million persons in a $17-trillion market

NAFTA links 450 million persons in a $17-trillion market

By Robert Brown

EL PASO – The North American Free Trade Agreement, (NAFTA) created 18 years ago spawned millions of jobs in Mexico, sending $160 billion in business south of the border.

“Never did we expect during the negotiations the success that NAFTA has had,” said Dr. Herminio Blanco, founder of Soluciones Estratégicas and former Minister of Trade and Industry for Mexico.

Dr. Blanco and UTEP President, Dr. Natalicio, greet attendees at the Centennial Lectures. (Robert Brown/Borderzine.com)
Speaking to students and faculty at the The University of Texas at El Paso February 7, Blanco said, “Mexico has been able to attract $160 billion. Never would we have thought that possible.” The number of jobs created in Mexico by NAFTA is difficult to establish, he said, “…but definitely we’re speaking about at least 2 million families that have jobs directly created by investments that came to Mexico because of NAFTA.”

NAFTA now links 450 million people producing $17 trillion worth of goods and services. The other NAFTA countries (Canada and Mexico) were the top two purchasers of U.S. exports in 2010.

Proponents and opponents of the agreement that created the world’s largest free trade market are still debating the merits of the pact.

NAFTA went into effect January 1st, 1994 and according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s website the United States has also benefitted from NAFTA. U.S. goods exports to NAFTA in 2010 were $411.5 billion, up 23.4% ($78 billion) from 2009, and 149% from and up 190% from 1993 (the year prior to NAFTA). U.S. exports to NAFTA accounted for 32.2% of overall U.S. exports in 2010.

Although the United States has seen benefits associated with NAFTA not all businesses have profited from the treaty. According to Ricky Jimenez Carrasco a local photographer who handles advertising/marketing for his, Xicali Imports in El Paso, Texas, NAFTA has had a negative effect on the business.

Xicali Imports is one of the businesses that feel negatively affected but NAFTA. (Robert Brown/Borderizne.com)
“The way the traffic was running through downtown [before NAFTA] was very profitable, I mean it boomed,” said Carrasco. “Somewhere around the time of NAFTA that slowed down to a trickle, that did not kill us but it did hurt us immensely.”

Although some businesses have been affected adversely with the implementation of NAFTA, other businesses…

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