Magazine article New Internationalist

Enough Already: On 1 January 2004 It Will Be 10 Years since Mexico Joinedthe North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) - and the Zapatista Uprising Began in Chiapas. Duncan Green Reviews the Experience

Magazine article New Internationalist

Enough Already: On 1 January 2004 It Will Be 10 Years since Mexico Joinedthe North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) - and the Zapatista Uprising Began in Chiapas. Duncan Green Reviews the Experience

Article excerpt

If any country in Latin America stood to gain from a trade agreement with the US it was Mexico, with its common border offering ease of transport and attractive opportunities for US investors. NAFTA has indeed benefited some groups within Mexico - especially the big export companies - but it has hurt many more. Despite respectable growth figures and an export boom, real industrial wages have fallen. The percentage of the population below the poverty line remains stubbornly high, especially in the countryside.

Mexican social movements such as the influential Mexican Network on Free Trade(1) are now fanning out across the continent, telling their story and campaigning hard to prevent the next phase of the expansion of the free-trade juggernaut.

In 1990 Bush senior announced a grand plan for a free-trade zone 'stretching from the port of Anchorage to Tierra del Fuego' - while, naturally, excluding Cuba. Thirteen years later Bush the younger is hoping to finish the job. In theory, agreement should be reached by January 2005.

Washington believes it can get a better deal from the FTAA - without the opposition it faces at the World Trade Organization. In 1994 the First Summit of the Americas in Miami launched the talks undisturbed by protesters. …

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