MEXICO CITY -- Jose Osawa’s factory outside Mexico City produces a new type of cement repair mix. The North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, allows Osawa to import the ingredients from the U.S. without paying tariffs.
“Basically all my raw materials come from the states, all the machinery, all the electronics, they come from the U,S.,” Osawa said.
The more mix he sells, the better those American suppliers come out.
“My suppliers are very happy if I’m growing,” he said.
That is one way to look at NAFTA. Donald Trump has another.
“NAFTA is the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country,” the Republican presidential candidate said in the final presidential debate.
Trump has vowed to renegotiate or rip up the deal, which has contributed to protests against him in Mexico.
Blanca Trevino is the CEO of Softtek, a technology service provider headquarters in Monterrey, Mexico. She said that the U.S. pulling out of NAFTA would be a huge mistake, and significantly hurt American companies.
“The partnership we have benefits us both,” Trevino said. “Think much more how many jobs will be killed if we don’t have this kind of agreement.”
It’s estimated more than a million U.S. jobs are directly tied to trade with Mexico. Softtek, for example, employs more than 500 people in the U.S., and all the software and hardware it uses for corporate clients around the world is purchased from American companies.
“Not just IT, think about tourism, think about transportation, there are so many things related to NAFTA … that are important for this kind of agreement” Trevino said.
But Trump points to job losses in U.S. manufacturing, to countries like Mexico.
Hillary Clinton is heavily favored in Mexico, and not just on trade. One Mexican network has branded its election coverage, “It’s her or the wall.” Trump isn’t even named.