A decade since the January 1994 implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, known now simply by its acronym – NAFTA, the agreement between Canada, the United State and Mexico has had an impact on Mississippi that is undeniable.
Jobs – thousands of them – have been lost to Latin America, and plenty more have moved on to Asia. Communities have seen unemployment soar. Companies are gone. Lives have changed in unexpected ways.
Welcome to the global economy.
Of course, there`s always a flip side. Exports are up. New markets are opening. Different opportunities have come along. And consumers are big winners.
As barriers and borders between nation-states, trade and individuals break down, we can expect even more dramatic changes as we work out the details of interconnectedness – the good and the bad.
The march of globalization is a complex process, and treaties like NAFTA and GATT (or FTAA and CAFTA), for better or worse, represent the brave new world that every business must adapt to – or perish.
Our money is on the skill, persistence and tenacity of the American entrepreneur and the ever-freer markets of the world.
So, happy birthday, NAFTA, and now? Let`s get back to work.