Some El Pasoans worry about what could replace NAFTA

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When it comes to the medicines you use, or the foods you eat, much of it is coming from Mexico. President Trump’s redesign of nafta could directly impact your wallet, but that’s not the reason some locals want NAFTA to end.

“Since NAFTA we haven’t had stable jobs, everything has been very unstable we haven’t had decent wages,” Lorena Andrade said.

Andrade is a member of La Mujer Obrera, a local advocacy group for women workers. She says NAFTA has been devastating for jobs along the border, with more than 35,000 jobs lost since it began in 1994.

“Here in El Paso we were the city that was most affected by the North American Free Trade Agreement,” Andrade said.

She says she’s spent years fighting for workers’ rights, especially women garment workers. She says the majority of people who lost their jobs are women.

President Trump has vowed to renegotiate NAFTA in his first 100 days or seek to withdraw from it.
And while Andrade agrees NAFTA is bad for workers, she doesn’t trust what the White House will do.

“They might be negotiating on how to better exploit the land, the natural resources or the workers how to make a bigger profit but they are not considering our well being as workers,” Andrade said.

Teresa Garcia recently worked in agriculture before being laid off. She worries any tension between Trump and Mexico may further hurt border jobs.

“I don’t agree with a lot of things he’s doing,” Garcia said.

“Factory wages in Juarez are now 30 percent less than the average Chinese wage,” said Dr. Bob Cash, the director of the Texas Fair Trade Coalition said. 

Cash says what ever takes NAFTA’s place needs to be good for Mexico and Canada or the U.S. will suffer.
 

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