Maquiladoras: Corporate America Moves South of the U.S.-Mexican Border; Encouraged by Lax Environmental Enforcement and the Prospect of a NAFTA That Fails to Integrate Internationally Binding Health, Safety and Environmental Safeguards With GATT Principles of Free Trade
GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIV WASHINGTON DC NATIONAL LAW CENTER
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The severe environmental problems that currently plague the U.S.- Mexico Border area have been primarily attributed to Mexicos long-standing acceptance of foreign industrialization. In turn, the Mexican maquiladora program has become corporate Americas preferable economic alternative to skyrocketing U.S. environmental costs, particularly in the area of hazardous waste disposition. Lax Mexican enforcement has encouraged and sustained that corporate shift, while contributing significantly to the untenable border conditions. If NAFTA negotiations fail to integrate internationally binding health, safety and environmental standards with the GATT principles of free trade, the resulting agreement will likely aggravate existing U.S.-Mexican border problems. Ultimately, Mexicos ability to cope with the ramifications of free trade are questionable. Although a U.S.-Mexican free trade agreement may be viewed as inevitable, present and future trade impacts on health, safety and environmental issues cannot be discounted. At this juncture Mexico has not met the prevailing environmental enforcement needs in the border area.
- Economics and Cost Analysis
- Government and Political Science
- Environmental Health and Safety