The Pros and Cons of the United States Involvement in NAFTA

The North American Free Trade Agreement is a trilateral trade deal between the United States, Mexico, and Canada. It was negotiated under the George H.W. Bush administration, signed by President Bill Clinton, and implemented into effect on January 1st, 1994. According to Bill Clinton, NAFTA was signed because “NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t support this agreement.” This has been a very controversial statement because NAFTA has led to many jobs leaving the US into other countries, however it has also led to many jobs leaving other countries and coming into the US. With NAFTA being in the news so much lately because of President Trump wanting to pull out of it, it is important to know all of its effects.

NAFTA has created 5 million jobs since it was put into place. That is an avergage of 227,000 jobs made per year. We also now have an average of 42,000 outsourced jobs per year due to NAFTA.

In 1993 the US had a $1.7 billion trade surplus. In 2016 the US had a $54 billion trade deficit which has led to the loss of many U.S. factory jobs.

NAFTA has led to many environmental problems because environmental standards were a minor part of the agreement. This has been criticized harshly for many years with a lot of people wanting to renegotiate or pull out of the deal partly because of this.

Apparel prices have dropped 7.5% since NAFTA was implemented. This has helped the poor the most because they are able to obtain their basic needs for much cheaper. A 2015 study discovered that completely shutting off trade would lead to a 69% loss in real income for the bottom 10%.

Proponents of NAFTA claimed that it would reduce illegal immigration from Mexico.  Mexican immigration – legal or illegal – doubled from 1990 to 2000 and has been rising consistently since.

President Trump has called NAFTA “the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country” and since he took office he has quadrupled the tariffs that are still existing between Mexico and the U.S. and will likely try to pull out of it or renegotiate it.

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