Workers on the assembly line at the General Motors plant in Guanajuato, Mexico, November 2008.
Henry Romero / Courtesy Reuters

When the North American Free Trade Agreement was proposed, it set off a vigorous debate across the continent about its benefits and drawbacks. Today, 20 years after it came into effect, perhaps the only thing everyone can agree on is that all sides greatly exaggerated: NAFTA brought neither the huge gains its proponents promised nor the dramatic losses its adversaries warned of. Everything else is debatable. Mexico, in particular, is a very different place today -- a multiparty democracy with a broad middle class and a competitive export economy -- and its people are far better off than ever before, but

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