NAFTA 1993

By a close vote of 234 to 200, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution to establish the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on November 17, 1993.  The goal of NAFTA, according to its advocates, was to eliminate barriers to trade and investment among the US, Canada and Mexico. Its critics contend that NAFTA undermined domestic industries and labor. The citizen soldiers of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) were particularly incensed by the removal of Article 27 from the Mexican constitution, which protected Indian communal landholdings from sale or privatization. Under NAFTA this guarantee was defined as a barrier to investment. EZLN declared its war on the Mexican government the day that NAFTA was implemented. US President Bill Clinton, who finally signed agreement into law, stated that, “NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t support this agreement.”

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