The signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was expected to signal the beginning of a new era of close co-operation between Mexico and the United States. Subsequent events, however, have introduced new tensions into the relationship. The 1995 economic collapse in Mexico sharply curtailed economic growth and lowered the demand for U.S. exports. The result has been a substantial deficit in U.S. trade with Mexico and renewed arguments that trade with Mexico reduces the employment opportunities of low-skilled workers in the United States. Immigration, both legal and illegal, has grown as a subject of contention between the two countries. Mexico has also come under increased focus as a conduit for the flow of drugs into the United States. In this book, scholars from the United States and Mexico examine the major elements of the bilateral relationship. The economic dimension is highlighted in two papers that focus on the effects of NAFTA on trade and financial transactions. The political and social dimensions are taken up in three papers on immigration, drug trafficking, and environmental concerns. The contributors include J. Enrique Espinosa and Pedro Noyola, SAI Consultores, Mexico; John Williamson, Institute for International Economics; Juan Carlos Belausteguigoitia, Ministry of the Environment, Mexico; Peter Smith, University of California, San Diego; and George Borjas, Harvard University.
Barry Bosworth is a senior fellow and Robert V. Roosa Chair in International Economics at the Brookings Institution. Susan M. Collins is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution and a professor of economics at Georgetown University. Her publications focus on various dimensions of economic policy and performance for developing countries. Nora Claudia Lustig is Samuel Z. Stone Professor of Latin American Economics at Tulane University and a nonresident fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C. She previously served as director of the Poverty Group at UNDP, as senior advisor and chief of the Poverty and Inequality Unit at the Inter-American Development Bank, and as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Her books include Mexico: The Remaking of an Economy (Brookings, 1992), which was selected as an Outstanding Academic Book by Choice magazine.