It is the 10th anniversary of NAFTA, and most of our Free Trade
Agreements are based on NAFTA formulas. There are many industries
involved, but I will set this platform for the textile/apparel industries.
There are critics on all sides of this agreement. On a national basis, it
is a BIG win for Mexico, but also a win-win for the United States and
Canada. Mexico in 1993 did $294 billion in trade and in 2003, $653
The steps backwards: The USA lost jobs in certain regions due to NAFTA.
Mexico, with all of this increase in jobs and trade dollars, has not
invested in its educational system, revised the judicial system, or
restructured the financial banking system to enhance trade and investment
at all levels.
China and quota elimination is the big question of the day. The USA
supported the opening of trade with China in 1974, and now supported
China's entrance into the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The step forward is that economic trade between nations tends to stop
wars. We used capitalism to break up communism and another cold war. We
are also benefiting by remaining competitive and giving our consumers the
best prices, quality, and selection.
The steps backwards: many cultural differences, business philosophies and
pirating of intellectual properties, patents, copyrights, trademarks and
industrial secrets have caused great alarm. Low wages have been exploited
and labor compliance issues have cost jobs in the USA marketplace. The
transshipping of goods to seek higher profits (exporters and importers),
both equally involved, has made the playing field un-level and with many
divots in our industry.
For the WTO, the step forward is that the organization is allowing many
nations to have a chance to enter into other economies, advance their
standard of living, and have the dignity of working for their population.
This is a forum for peace in our time.
The steps backwards: the WTO has broken into internal groups of nations
demanding unrealistic paybacks on many outdated issues. Some are
inflexible towards change and the issues of today; rather, they rely on
what was agreed upon many years ago, without taking into account the
global changes that have taken place. They even have difficulty holding a
For the USA, the step forward is that we have moved from a production
society to a service society, and yet our
Yankee Ingenuity is still
moving our standard of living and our technology ahead to make a wonderful
place for our children and our children's children to live in the future.
The steps backwards include the lack of our educational system to teach
and train our youth for the needs of our economy -- retraining those that
have been passed over by becoming a global society. Another step
backwards is the low voting participation in our elections.
am not preaching Gloom and Doom. I am saying that this is still the land
of opportunity, and no matter what ethnic background you or your
forefathers are from, we all become Americans after living in the USA for
a short time. We blend our ideas and hard work, and continue to prosper
using Yankee Ingenuity.
Have a good second half of 2004.