The Case For NAFTA

Policy Backgrounders | Trade

No. 130
Monday, November 15, 1993
by Edward L. Hudgins, Ph.D.

Illegal Drugs

The involvement of Mexicans in smuggling illegal narcotics into the United States is a constant source of tension between the governments of the two countries. American officials claim, with justification, that the Mexican government has been lax in drug law enforcement and that some corrupt Mexican officials have been involved in trafficking.

Creating Economic Alternatives to the Drug Trade. NAFTA will not solve this problem, but it will help to eliminate one of its motivating factors: the lack of economic opportunities. The socialized Mexican economy has offered few opportunities for ambitious individuals wishing to escape poverty and improve their situations. For the most part, individuals had just two choices: they could work for the government and sell favors or protection, or they could become drug dealers. A free market economy creates other opportunities. Under NAFTA, Mexicans will have less need to traffic in drugs.

Killing NAFTA Kills Cooperation. Of course, if America rejects NAFTA, the outraged Mexican government will have little incentive to continue cooperating with U.S. efforts to stem the drug trade.

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