N. America - not a mirror to EC

The Opinion page article ``Opposition to NAFTA - Nothing But Old Status Quo,'' Sept. 2, misrepresents reasons for opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The author says that the opposition ``is terrified of change and of the unkown'' and ``the issues are poorly understood.'' On the contrary, the opposition understands all too well what NAFTA will mean to the US and wants a fair trade agreement instead.

Supporters of NAFTA point to the European Community (EC) as a bloc that has successfully removed trade barriers, but they fail to discuss how this was accomplished. To join the EC, a nation must be a working democracy, have per capita income close to the EC average, and have decent working conditions and environmental standards. In the past, the richer members also provided billions of dollars to assist the poorer candidate nations. NAFTA does not have similar conditions, and the recently negotiated agreements do not provide sufficient safeguards for the Mexican worker or for the Mexican environment. Instead of NAFTA, let's join together to work for a fair trade agreement that benefits the workers, business, and the environment in all three countries. Ronald Forthofer, Longmont, Colo.

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