Did NAFTA save American automobile manufacturing jobs?

nafta-jobs-auto

For NAFTA opponents, the answer is obvious. The agreement cost the U.S. thousands of good paying jobs, decimating the middle class – and the auto industry – in the process.

But blaming the North American Free Trade Agreement is an oversimplification that neglects other factors like the devaluation of the peso and advances in technology. Competition from within our own borders also played a role, as production shifted from Detroit to states with lower labor costs.

Offering a low-wage platform and integration within the hemisphere actually helped revive the auto industry, saving many jobs, and serves as a check against China and other low wage Asian countries.

It’s a stance rarely discussed in the current debate over free trade, and one that takes into account the complexities of a modern, globalized economy.

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