In a Senate press conference this afternoon, two previously
undecided Senators, Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Harlan Mathews (D-TN),
publicly announced their endorsement of NAFTA. "The NAFTA process
provides us with an excellent opportunity to identify resources for
addressing the state of the Rio Grande and other pressing environmental
and health issues along the border," Senator Bingaman said. Senator
Mathews called NAFTA "an opportunity to become more prosperous and
secure by becoming more productive and more competitive."
The announcement was arranged by Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ),
who heads the Senate's informal NAFTA whip organization.
"Trade Hawk" Clyde Prestowitz Takes Second Look, Endorses NAFTA
In an extended op-ed article in Sunday's Washington Post, on
NAFTA subtitled "How I Overcame My Doubts and Learned to Like the Pact,"
former Reagan Administration trade official and acknowledged "trade
hawk" Clyde Prestowitz reversed his position, writing that while at one
time he had great concerns, "I believe the time has now come for
Congress to ratify NAFTA."
"Under the terms of NAFTA," Prestowitz writes, "we are giving
away very little. The barriers being removed are mostly on the Mexican
side. Ironically, their removal may actually reduce incentives for U.S.
firms to move south." Without NAFTA, Prestowitz argues, it is only
logical for U.S. producers of, say, minivans to export the excess
production of their Mexican plants (which are required by pre-NAFTA
Mexican law in order to sell in Mexico) back to the U.S. With NAFTA,
the Big Three could shift their minivan production back to more
efficient U.S. plants. NAFTA isn't perfect, Prestowitz concludes, but
"even with its imperfections, NAFTA will leave America better off than
NAFTA Flash Facts Hotline
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Over 300 economists, including 13 nobel prize winners, have
endorsed NAFTA as a net job-gainer for the U.S. economy.