NAFTA at Three: A Progress Report
By Sidney Weintraub
Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1997, 105 pp.
Fortunately, if fortuitously, U.S. employment increased by five percent and U.S. output by eight percent during the first three years of NAFTA; some would almost certainly have blamed any decline in these figures on the accord, even though the Mexican economy is tiny compared to the U.S. economy. Indeed, U.S. exports to Mexico did decline during Mexico's economic depression of 1995. In this short book, Weintraub offers a fair-minded evaluation of NAFTA so far, attempting to sort out those events that can plausibly be attributed to NAFTA and those that occurred independently but had a bearing on Mexico's economic performance. He argues persuasively that NAFTA was not to blame for Mexico's financial crisis of 1994-95, nor the subsequent depression in output, employment, and imports from the United States. Indeed, despite the fall in U.S. exports in 1995, they remained above what they were in 1993, and Mexico did not impose import restrictions, as it had typically done during previous financial crises.