Mexico suffering from NAFTA's faded dreams

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 12, 2007

When the landmark North American Free Trade Agreement was approved in the early 1990s, politicians promised it would spur development in Mexico to create millions of jobs, raise wages and diminish the lure of immigration to the United States.

But since NAFTA took effect, Mexico’s economy has grown sluggishly. Not enough jobs have materialized, while Mexico’s working-age population has swelled. Meanwhile, the United States has been a magnet for Mexican laborers willing to take on low-paying, unpleasant work.

Now, as the final provisions of the trade pact kick in, Mexico’s thriving chicken farmers fear they’re facing economic devastation because of unlimited imports of poultry from their northern neighbor. Mexican farms will compete directly with an American agribusiness nurtured by subsidies on the corn that feeds the birds. What impact will this have on Mexico? How its economy adjust? And how will the latest wave of trade liberalization alter the calculations for millions of Mexicans wanting to stay home, but constantly feeling the tug of the United States?

Beauty and the bald guy:

When it comes to celebrity marriages, actress Sophia Loren and movie producer Carlo Ponti were the odd couple on the wedding cake. She was one of the world’s great beauties, while he was a stubby bald guy more than two decades her senior. Yet they remained together for more than half a century. Was it a match made in heaven — or just another movieland merger? Read Chris Verner’s column for his take on one of the cinematic world’s legendary pairings.

Coming Sunday in the Post’s Insight section.