NAFTA Ten Years Later

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NBC Nightly News
Campbell Brown, Jim Cummins
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Video News Report
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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Ten years after the North American Free Trade Agreement passed, economists say fears in the U.S. that American workers would be left without jobs as factories closed and moved south never materialized.



"NAFTA Ten Years Later." Jim Cummins, correspondent. NBC Nightly News. NBCUniversal Media. 27 Dec. 2003. NBC Learn. Web. 4 November 2017.


Jim Cummins, . (Reporter), & Brown, C. (Anchor). (2003, December 27). NAFTA Ten Years Later. [Television series episode]. NBC Nightly News. Retrieved from


"NAFTA Ten Years Later" NBC Nightly News, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 12/27/2003. Accessed Sat Nov 4 2017 from NBC Learn:


NAFTA Ten Years Later


New Year's Day will mark the 10th anniversary of the historic free trade agreement, NAFTA, designed to open America's northern and southern borders. But has NAFTA delivered on its promise, especially to the struggling Mexican economy? The story now from NBC's Jim Cummins.

JIM CUMMINS reporting:

Business is good for Juarez, Mexico, shop owner Jose Davilos. He says the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, makes it easier for him to sell his cowboy boots to the United States, now his best customer.

In the 10 years since the trade agreement began, Mexico tripled its exports to the US and Canada, quadrupled foreign investment in local businesses to $12 billion a year, and per-capita income shot up 24 percent. And in the first few years, the Mexican economy gained 750,000 jobs. Mexico's director general for international trade, Kenneth Smith Ramos, says NAFTA has transformed his country.

Mr. KENNETH SMITH RAMOS: Let's not forget that Mexico was one of the most closed economies in the world. And thanks to the NAFTA we've been able to become the seventh-largest trading nation in the world.

CUMMINS: And economists say fears here in the US that American workers would be left without jobs as factories closed and moved south never materialized. With the economic boom of the '90s those jobless workers were quickly rehired elsewhere. Still, some question on NAFTA's long-term staying power. Workers in this pump factory outside Mexico City have started to see jobs disappear.

The higher wages that benefited so many workers are now actually hurting some. In the last few years, Mexico has lost more than 200,000 jobs, mostly to China, where assembly-line workers make 59 cents an hour, compared to Mexico's $1.47.

For now, Jose Davilos says he plans to sell even more boots in the US, buy some new machinery, and hire more workers in the year ahead.

Jim Cummins, NBC News, Dallas.