mexico

White House

It’s been 20 years since the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect. It drastically changed the economic relationship between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

While signing the bill into law, then-President Clinton said, “NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs.”

So, let’s spend the next little while taking stock of NAFTA, and what it’s meant particularly to Michigan, it’s economy, the auto industry, and the state’s workers.

Patrick Anderson, the CEO of the Michigan-based Anderson Economic Group, and Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California Berkeley who specializes in labor and the global economy joined us today. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is planning to meet with government officials and business leaders during a two-day visit to Mexico.

Calley was expected to leave Sunday on the mission to strengthen trade relations and attract job-creating investments to Michigan.

He will meet Monday with Mexican government officials and visit the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. Calley also will speak with Mexican-based auto supplier Rassini.

Mexican federal police said Wednesday that they had dealt a lethal blow to one of the country's most notorious drug cartels following an operation that nabbed the alleged leader of the cultlike, pseudo-Christian La Familia cartel.

Jose de Jesus Mendez Vargas, nicknamed El Chango, or "The Monkey," was apprehended Tuesday in the central state of Aguascalientes, officials said. La Familia terrorized western Mexico from its headquarters in Michoacan province, and Mendez is accused of moving tons of cocaine, methamphetamines and marijuana to the U.S.

Fritzmb / Flickr

U.S. Representative Candice Miller (R-Harrison Township) is expected to introduce a bill today that would order the Department of Homeland Security to create a plan to secure 100 percent of the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada, the Detroit News reports. From the News:

A draft copy of the bill, the Secure Border Act of 2011, was obtained Wednesday by The Detroit News. It would require DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and her agency, within 180 days of its passage, to identify how to bring the northern and southern borders under full "operational control" — meaning authorities have clear ways of patrolling and controlling passage over a border — within five years.

Achieving full operational control of the borders would likely cost hundreds of millions of dollars or more, if current projections are any indication.

Among the potential solutions are increased levels of fencing and boosted patrols on the southern border, while the U.S.-Canada border would be a prime candidate for a beefed-up Coast Guard presence in the Great Lakes, watch towers like those deployed along the St. Clair River and unmanned aerial drones in use in states like Arizona.

Both borders are far below that 100 percent goal. Forty-four percent of the U.S.-Mexican border is estimated to be under operational control; the U.S.-Canadian border is less than 2 percent controlled.

Rep. Miller chairs the Subcommittee on Maritime and Border Security in the U.S. House of Representatives.

(Flickr-Chazz Layne)

Mexican truck drivers may soon start turning up on Michigan roads. U.S. truck drivers are not happy about it.

The Obama administration announced a deal Thursday that will allow Mexican truck drivers to ply their trade on US roads. The deal ended a nearly 20 year ban. Under the deal, Mexican drivers and their trucks will have to meet US safety and other standards.

Union and independent truck drivers don’t like the deal. Leo Wilkins is an independent trucker from the Saginaw area. He says allowing Mexican truckers on US roads will cost American jobs.

 “It would be a benefit to them, but it’s not helping our labor force any.  It’s just destroying more of our labor force that’s already been destroyed."

The US Chamber of Commerce applauds lifting the ban on Mexican truckers. Mexico imposed high tariffs on more than 2 billion dollars worth of US products annually, in retaliation for the ban, which Mexican officials claim violated the North American Free Trade Agreement.