In the 1992 presidential debates, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the USA, Mexico, and Canada was being developed. Proponents said NAFTA would create thousands of new jobs in America. Presidential candidate H. Ross Perot said if NAFTA were implemented, we would soon hear a “giant sucking sound” as our factories quickly moved to Mexico to take advantage of low wages there.
Over the years, thousands of jobs left our country. It was cheaper to manufacture goods in Mexico, then ship them back here for less than their competitors who were still here. That caused a snowballing situation, forcing more companies to move to Mexico or go out of business.
Three years ago I worked at the Sears store in Baytown during the holiday season (October through December). Every box of merchandise arrived with a label identifying the country of origin. Most came from Mexico, China, India, Mexico, Taiwan and Bangladesh.
The U.S. lost 850,000 jobs from 1993 to 2013 because of NAFTA, and that number has undoubtedly risen. Eleven new automobile assembly plants were built in North America from 2009 to 2017. All but three are in Mexico – even though they all made vehicles for the U.S. market. It’s not just manufacturing workers who are affected by the “giant sucking sound.” Families and entire communities can be devastated when workers lose jobs.
In 2018 President Trump signed a trade deal to replace NAFTA. The new trade deal is called the USMC (U.S, Mexico, Canada) deal which is still being negotiated.
Sears sold their Craftsman line of tools to Black & Decker. All Craftsman tools are now made in China. Last month I bought a new Craftsman chain saw from Home Depot. It was made in China.
Almost everything we buy now has a tag that reads “Made in China.” The tariff trade war with China is unfortunately a necessary part of Trump’s trade strategy with China because China will not negotiate fairly. The only way to get China to the bargaining table is to make it difficult to sell their cheaply made products here.
President Trump works tirelessly to level the economic playing field with other countries. We should be thankful to know that Trump has the business sense to address and correct the terribly lopsided trade deals that favor foreign countries.
Jerry L. Jones