NAFTA and the Mexico Factor

Regarding the Opinion page article "NAFTA's Faultlines," April 19: It is absurd to think that Mexico, with a $300 billion GDP, will be the economic ruin of our $6 trillion economy. If Mexico grew at the rate the author claims, it would explode from job growth and prosperity. In reality, the North American Free Trade Agreement will not change much of our economic relations with Mexico.

The author fails to mention that most Mexican products already enter the United States without any tariff, and that the average tariff "protecting" us from cheap Mexican competition is just 4 percent. American workers are more than ready to out-compete Mexico's largely unskilled labor force.

NAFTA is, on the other hand, a very important political document. Our relationship with Mexico is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. Over the past five years, the Mexican government has opened its economy through reforms as breathtaking as those in Moscow. To throw away the prospects for continued economic development in Mexico in the name of fear would be a tremendous mistake, exacerbating problems such as illegal immigration and environmental distress. Special interest prot ectionists claim that international trade is a zero-sum game in which someone must lose if someone is to gain. That's simply wrong. Rep. David Dreier, Washington (R) of California

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please fax letters to (617) 450-2317 or address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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