California’s Mexico Economic Dependency

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - COMMENTARYHere is an important fact—665,000 American jobs in southern California depends on Mexico. The jobs these Americans do provide products and services that are exported to Mexico, and in turn Mexico provides the raw materials as well as manufactured parts and goods for those in southern California. These American and Mexican workers are part of what is called the San Diego-Baja California mega-zone of manufacture and services. This area alone employs 665,000 Americans. In truth, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) provides five million people in California with jobs. Such is the dependency of not only the California economy with Mexico but with the United States and Mexico overall. It has been this way for almost a quarter of a century, and any major change in this relationship could have cataclysmic results for both the United States and Mexico. It is one thing to try and work out the problems and disparities in NAFTA overall. It is another to try and wreck the agreement completely and start from scratch.

This sadly is what U.S. President Donald Trump wants. He not only wants to throw NAFTA completely away but “renegotiate” separate economic treaties with both Mexico and Canada. In threatening to do this, he has put tariffs on certain Canadian and Mexican goods to make his threat good. As I have said before, Trump cannot single-handed renegotiate any trade pact with either Canada or Mexico because they will need to be agreed upon by the U.S. Congress. NAFTA was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1994, and it is highly unlikely that they will ditch this agreement. However, there is a new threat to NAFTA. This one is coming from Mexico itself. The election of left wing Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has made it clear that he wants changes to NAFTA too. He will NOT negotiate with Trump, and it is possible that Obrador could just as easily cut the economic links between the San Diego-Baja California mega-zone to do harm to the California economy. If Obrador sabotages the California economy, then he could sabotage the U.S. economy as a whole. California more than any other state brings in the most revenue and it also pays the most revenue to the U.S. federal government. Then again, Trump could just as easily sabotage NAFTA and cut the revenue going into California and thus this will mean less revenue for the U.S. government. I have to wonder which president is more crazy?! I only know that two presidents with very big egos have put all Californians and the rest of us into this unhappy middle ground.

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