South-Western - Management  
Trade is Up, but NAFTA Seems to Have Little Effect on Immigration
Topic Global Management
Key Words NAFTA, immigration, trade, exported goods
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News Story

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) increased trade between the U.S. and Mexico and increased investments south of the border, just as the plan’s supporters promised. However, 13 years after this legislation has been put into effect, Mexican immigrants continue to come to America in search of higher wages and better working conditions.

Between 1990 and 1995, as many as 310,000 Mexicans illegally immigrated to the United States. Between 2000 and 2005, that number increased to an estimated 560,000 each year.

NAFTA was supposed to increase exports from Mexico, putting investment dollars back into the Mexican economy. The economy never fully recovered, however, as income disparities between the U.S. and Mexico remained and Mexican jobs continued to be lost to Asian rivals.

According to Carol Wise, associate professor at the University of Southern California’s School of International Relations, to create jobs for Mexican residents, the government needs to make energy, fiscal, and other crucial reforms. In her opinion, NAFTA has played itself out.


What is NAFTA? What effects did the original architects of the agreement believe NAFTA would have on international trade?


What are some reasons that NAFTA has had little effect on immigration?


What does Carol Wise mean when she says that NAFTA has played itself out with trade and investment? What does she recommend in order to bring about real change in the Mexican economy?

Source “Trade is Up, but NAFTA Seems to Have Little Effect on Immigration,” Houston Chronicle, Feb. 24, 2007, p. NA.
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