Free Trade between Mexico and the United States?

By Sidney Weintraub | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
Introduction

THE PURPOSE of this study is to examine whether a slow but steady movement to free trade between Mexico and the United States would benefit both countries. The theme is controversial. Detractors in Mexico will interpret it as the latest U.S. device to exercise political and economic hegemony over Mexico. Detractors in the United States will object that, at best, free trade would lead to a flow of goods into the United States made with cheap Mexican labor and, at worst, would encourage Mexican labor to emigrate. Impartial economists in both countries will question whether it is feasible for two countries vastly unequal in economic strength to have free trade without the economic progress of the weaker country being held back. Each of these issues will be analyzed in the following chapters.

There has been considerable study of the effects of free trade between Canada and the United States but none of any significance about what the economic consequences might be if Mexico and the United States began to move toward free trade.1 Such study never seemed worthwhile. The conventional wisdom has been that the economics of free trade between Mexico and the United States would benefit only the United States because of the greater efficiency and higher productivity of its industry. The instinctive expectation in Mexico has been that if free trade actually did encourage greater specialization in each country, the

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1
Examples of studies on U.S.-Canadian free trade include Ronald J. Wonnacott and Paul Wonnacott, Free Trade between the United States and Canada: The Potential Economic Effects and U.S.-Canadian Free Trade: The Potential Impact on the Canadian Economy; Sperry Lea, A Canada-U.S. Free Trade Arrangement: Survey of Possible Characteristics; Canadian-American Committee, A Possible Plan for a Canada-U.S. Free Trade Area; Canadian Parliament, Senate, Canada-United States Relations, vols. 2 and 3: Canada's Trade Relations with the United States; Sidney Weintraub, "Fear of Free Trade", pp. 9-12. Full references to the works cited appear in the bibliography.

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Free Trade between Mexico and the United States?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Author's Preface ix
  • Contents xiii
  • Contents xiv
  • Chapter One Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two The Politics of U.S.-Mexican Trade Integration 13
  • Chapter Three U.S.-Mexican Trade 33
  • Chapter Four Mexican Trade Policy 66
  • Chapter Five Mexico's Development Plans And Strategies 95
  • Chapter Six Implementing Free Trade 129
  • Chapter Seven Questioning the Divergence Theory 154
  • Chapter Eight Summary 172
  • Bibliography 187
  • Index 199
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