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What Has NAFTA Meant For US After 20 Years?

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the day the North American Free Trade Agreement, better known as NAFTA, took effect.


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Just what NAFTA has meant for the U.S. varies widely by region and by industry. To the Midwest, it’s been far from kind, as much of American auto manufacturing shifted south to Mexico or north to Canada. Houston’s experience has been far more positive.

Patrick Jankowski is vice president of research for the Greater Houston Partnership.

“Back in 1991, we were able to identify about 91, 92 companies that were doing business in Mexico, and the database we pulled the information from now shows that there are over 1,100 companies in Houston that are now doing business with Mexico.”

In 1992, the year NAFTA was signed, Houston’s two-way trade with Mexico totaled about $900 million. In 2012, the city’s exports to Mexico alone totaled close to $9 billion.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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