Crossing the Rio Grande

Article excerpt

Here's a multiple choice quiz: On what continent is a multinational trading alliance now being negotiated that will offer unprecedented global business opportunities and bring the trading borders between 350-million-plus consumers crashing down?

A. Europe.

B. North America.

C. Both of the above.

Europe is nearing full enactment of its EC 92 protocols, of course, but nearer to home-and with much less fanfare-the United States and Mexico currently are discussing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

This pact is more than an interesting notion; spurred by President Bush's pro-Texas stance and the Middle East crisis (which gave Mexico's oil fields special appeal to the Washington negotiators), many insiders expect it to go into effect january 1, 1993.

North Americans are not newcomers to the process of economic union: A Canadian-U.S. Free Trade Agreement began on january 1, 1989, which called for the elimination of tariffs between the two countries over a 10-year period. But a trade union with Mexico will have significantly greater impact on U.S. businesses because the Rio Grande is the only border in the world where the Third World meets the First World. …