Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

NAFTA Is a Feather in US's Cap, Brown Says

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

NAFTA Is a Feather in US's Cap, Brown Says

Article excerpt

THE North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is proving to be an economic boon and a creator of jobs, Ron Brown, United States Secretary of Commerce, said Friday.

Figures for the first nine months of this year and of the pact "totally take the wind out of the sails of those who were making these predictions about the outflow of jobs and the damage to the United States' economy," Secretary Brown said.

Exports to Canada and Mexico account for almost half of overall US export growth, Commerce figures show. While US exports worldwide are up 7 percent for the first nine months, exports to Canada and Mexico are up 14 percent.

US exports to Mexico are at record levels and were up 22 percent for the nine-month period. Imports were up 23 percent. Trade with Canada, the US's largest trading partner, also grew after NAFTA's Jan. 1 implementation, with US exports to Canada up 11 percent and imports from Canada up 13 percent.

But NAFTA opponents suggest that the rosy outlook doesn't take into account that the US trade surplus with Mexico is dwindling. At a news conference Nov. 17, critics said the declining trade surplus is a sign of NAFTA's problems: Lower Mexican wages encourage Americans to buy Mexican goods that are cheaper to manufacture and keep Mexicans from buying more high-priced US goods.

Brown rejected the contention that a declining trade surplus with Mexico is proof that NAFTA is hurting the US economy. Opponents, he says, "don't seem to understand that economic growth in Mexico is good for America. The more the Mexican economy is growing, the more American goods, products, and services Mexicans want to buy." An `A' is worth $800 more than a `B'

AN "A" in high school ought to be worth $800 a year more than a "B" after you graduate.

That's one of the findings of a national study on wages of high school graduates who don't go to college. The ongoing study by the University of Pennsylvania's National Center on Educational Quality of the Workforce tracks students from their sophomore year to their third year of work after graduation. …

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