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In 1994, the most controversial alliance between nations took its affect. NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) was the agreement to have free trade between Canada, United States and Mexico. According to the Institute for International Economics one million workers in 1995 would owe their jobs to U.S. exports to Mexico. Some 175,000 of those would be new jobs in higher paying sectors (Mohn 2007). Although it was suppose to drastically increase trade and create jobs, in many ways had the reverse affect. The environment took a backseat to the corporate greed. With the increase of trade, the pollution increased and the quality of goods decreased significantly. Our country lost more jobs than it gained. We have become increasingly dependent on other countries. The United States has sat by silently as the pollution from unregulated foreign low-wage manufacturing plants infiltrates our earth's rivers, air, and ground water. Our government has turned their heads on workers in other countries as well as our own, being exploited and forced to work in conditions not fit for and animal. NAFTA may have increased trade but at what cost? It looks like even the United States can be bought. The U. S. Government no longer controls our country, big business does.

After only seven years under NAFTA, the outcome has not lived up to the expectations of the agreement to all three nations. The U.S. has experienced steadily growing global trade deficits for nearly three decades, and these deficits have accelerated rapidly since NAFTA took


affect. Although U.S. exports to NAFTA partners had increased. The export deficit with these had also increased by 378% to $62.8 billion by 2000 (Salas, Carlos, & Scott, 2006). As a result, according to economist Robert Scott, NAFTA has led to over 766,000 job losses in all 50 states of the United States (Faux 2000). Both nations' exports to the U.S. have become cheaper while imports from the U.S. have become more expensive. This has caused investors in Canada and Mexico to build new and expanded production capacity to export even more goods to the U.S. market. Mexico spent virtually nothing on environmental law enforcement, which allowed corporations to get away with almost anything. Now, with the increasing industrialization as a result of NAFTA, the Mexican government struggles to even assess or understand the environmental impact these corporations are having. Every day for example, untracked, unmonitored hazardous waste from 'Maquiladora' (an assembly plant in Mexico ran by U.S. or other foreign interests) companies are dumped onto vast stretches of desert near the border cities (Renk, Jarvis, & Guttmacher, 1997). Mexican wages have actually fallen since NAFTA. But Mexicans must still contend with the lack of fairness from the American-owned 'Maquiladora' sweatshops: subsistence-level wages, pollution, congestion, horrible living conditions (cardboard shacks and open sewers), and a lack of resources to deal with a wave of violence against vulnerable young women working in the factories. The survival level wages, coupled with harsh working conditions, have not been the great answer to Mexican poverty.

Now after almost thirteen years, NAFTA has proven to be a complete failure. Although many countries have improved their poverty level, the terrible working conditions still exist. The factories are still not concerned about the environmental impact of the lack



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