In response to the View From Capitol Hill article "Thumbs Down on NAFTA Pact," July 6: According to the author, European and Asian companies are ready to blitz the United States with exports through Mexico, a duty-free launching pad.
Yet a whole section of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deals with "rules of origin" that set forth very strict conditions on the origin of a product; without the required percentage of local manufacture it cannot be exported to either of the two other countries the agreement covers.
The author rejects NAFTA because he believes it will not mean a boom for US exports to Mexico. He states that "only 5 percent of Mexicans have sufficient disposable income to purchase American products." Yet Mexico is the second-largest trading partner of the US, and the trade surplus with Mexico in 1992 was $5.4 billion. According to the US Department of Commerce, 650,000 US jobs are directly related to US exports to Mexico (400,000 were created between 1987 and 1991, after Mexico opened its economy). N ot bad for "beggar-thy-neighbor competition."
The author implies that NAFTA does not cover standards for issues such as environment, as the European Community did with Spain and Portugal. But it is the first trade agreement ever to include environmental issues, a fact that will be bolstered by side agreements.
NAFTA will create jobs, enhance the standard of living, and protect the environment in the US, Mexico, and Canada. Legislators should focus on the national interest of the US and put aside parochial politics. Teodoro Maus, Atlanta Consul General of Mexico
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