News Release

Analysis on the Tenth Anniversary of NAFTA


New Year’s Day 2004 will mark the tenth anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The following critics of NAFTA are available for interviews:

Nadal is the director of the Science and Technology program (PROCIENTEC) at El Colegio de Mexico and co-author of the article “Seven Myths About NAFTA and Three Lessons for Latin America.” He said today: “Between 1994-2003, minimum wages in Mexico lost 20 percent of their purchasing power.” Aguayo, a researcher at PROCIENTEC, said today: “Neither NAFTA nor the Free Trade Area of the Americas provide a means of addressing historical inequalities; both assume markets will take care of it. The newly agreed Central American Free Trade Agreement is reported as ‘modeled on NAFTA.'”
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Ojeda is the director of the Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras, a maquiladora worker and a union organizer for more than 20 years. She said today: “NAFTA was promoted as a way to good jobs and improved living conditions. Instead we got low wages, sexual harassment, environmental destruction and birth defects. Most maquiladora workers are very young, between 16 and 25, because their eyes, backs and hands haven’t given out yet — their hours are so long that their youth passes without seeing the sun.”
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Juhasz, a project director with the International Forum on Globalization, said today: “CAFTA marks the path the Bush Administration intends to follow in the future — it will make deals only with those countries that agree to follow our rules.”
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Bacon is the author of the forthcoming book The Children of NAFTA. He said today: “NAFTA has a 10-year history of devastation, in both Mexico and the U.S…. The job picture for U.S. workers has been grim, but millions of Mexican workers lost their jobs too, while their incomes plummeted precipitously…. NAFTA’s boosters promised a new era of respect for labor rights in Mexico, but for 10 years unions have been broken and workers fired with impunity all along the border.”
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Carlsen is the director of the Americas Program of the Interhemispheric Resource Center based in Mexico City. She said today: “NAFTA has displaced 1.75 million farmers from their land, forcing them to migrate to the cities or the United States. Farm prices, especially for maize [corn], have plummeted in the face of subsidized imports from the United States.”
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Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said today: “The new World Bank report calls NAFTA ‘positive for Mexico.’ In 10 years, income per person has grown by only 9 percent in Mexico, about a fifth of the growth in the 1960s and 1970s. No economist can honestly call that a success.”
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Martinez, an associate with the Center for the Study of the Americas, said today: “The Zapatista uprising, which started the day NAFTA was launched, is also entering its tenth year.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167