Friday, 10 January 2014

Produce and NAFTA

Produce and NAFTA
Laurence M. Vance
January 10, 2014

This month is the 20th anniversary of NAFTA. A story on NPR yesterday talks about how Americans have more produce because of NAFTA:

Walk through the produce section of your supermarket and you'll see things you'd never have seen years ago ­ like fresh raspberries or green beans in the dead of winter. Much of that produce comes from Mexico, and it's the result of the North American Free Trade Agreement ­ NAFTA ­ which took effect 20 years ago this month. In the years since, NAFTA radically changed the way we get our fruits and vegetables. For starters, the volume of produce from Mexico to the U.S. has tripled since 1994.

Could Americans have gotten more produce without NAFTA? Of course. It is called free trade, which NAFTA is not. A free trade agreement takes a paragraph, not hundreds of pages. For further reading, here is a great analysis of NAFTA by Murray Rothbard, here is my article "Managed Trade Is Not Free Trade," and here is my article "The Moral Case for Free Trade." The Mises Institute once put out The NAFTA Reader, but I am unable to locate it.