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Environment Considerations by Mexico through NAFTA

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) seeks to eliminate trade barriers between the United States, Mexico, and Canada. However, promoting sustainable development has been, and will continue to be, a fundamental part of this process. In Mexico, the Agreement has heightened participation by public and private organizations in exploring solutions to environmental problems. A new development policy has been imtiated which recognizes the link between poverty and the environment, fiscal resources have been allocated to strengthen enforcement of environmental regulations and improve infrastructure, and the environmental agency has been restructured, reflecting a new emphasis on sustainable development. Furthermore, President Salinas pledges that Mexico will not become a haven for those seeking to avoid environmental regulations. The author points out that policies with a main goal in mind, which in this case is more efficient trade, may not initially reflect concerns for environmental issues and thereby may have unintended negative environmental impacts. Therefore, it is best if the original structure of the policy is modified to integrate both the primary goal and environmental concerns. NAFTA in particular is crucial for the manufacturing of automobiles since much of North America's automobiles are made in primarily Mexico because of cheaper labor and more lax regulations. These automobile manufacturing plants exhaust pollution into the atmosphere, heightening climate change. With new awareness to environmental concerns, the Mexican government has been exploring solutions to environmental problems and wants to make clear that "Mexico will not become a haven for those seeking to avoid environmental regulations."
Jessie Xiao
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