Oh, the NAFTA Corridor and the deepening of North American integration certainly provide opportunities for learning. And it’s always exciting when there’s a local, provincial, or national connection. Here are three excerpts from articles that caught my attention.
1) In the Washington Times is a very interesting commentary by William Hawkins, a Republican and a senior fellow for national security studies at the U.S. Business and Industry Council. He tells exactly what the SuperCorridor will do.
NAFTA highway or new silk road?
By William Hawkins
September 24, 2006
On Sept. 7, the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), a government office established in March to increase cooperation between the United States, Canada and Mexico, released a progress report. Among its achievements was creation of an American Competitiveness Council to enhance North America’s posture in the struggle for hotly contested global markets.
Unfortunately, major events are already unfolding that will undermine this belated attempt to respond to ambitious rivals who have been piling up ever-higher trade surpluses at the expense of American-based enterprises.
[W]hat is really behind this transportation network heralds the collapse of NAFTA and its dream of a stronger continental economy. NAFTA was supposed to combine cheap Mexican labor with U.S. capital and technology to improve competition with Asian rivals. C. Fred Bergsten and Jeffrey Schott, of the Institute for International Economics, testified to Congress in 1997: “We wanted to shift imports from other countries to Mexico — since our imports from Mexico include more U.S. content and because Mexico spends much more of its export earnings on imports from the United States than do, say, the East Asian countries.”
Imports from Mexico grew rapidly in the 1990s on this model, but that is not what drives activity now. Today, the massive wave of imports from Asia is clogging West Coast ports and sending shippers and retailers searching for new routes to bring even more foreign products into the United States. Container ship traffic from China is growing by 15 percent a year. Between 2003 and 2005, annual imports from China rose by $92.2 billion, and from other parts of Asia by $41.0 billion.
The final terminus of the planned transport network is the Kansas City, Mo., SmartPort. Its Web site proclaims, “The idea of receiving containers nonstop from the Far East by way of Mexico may sound unlikely, but… that seemingly far-fetched notion will become a reality.”
The Chinese firm Hutchison Whampoa has partnered with Wal-Mart in a $300 million expansion of Lazaro Cardenas to handle perhaps 2 million containers annually by the end of the decade. The American Chamber of Commerce in Guangdong, China, has held seminars promoting this Mexican port. Punta Colonet, about 150 miles south of Tijuana, is also eyed for expansion to offload millions of additional containers filled with Asian imports. Kansas City Southern railway has bought the Mexican rail links and the State of Texas is negotiating with a Spanish firm to build a corridor of toll roads from the border heading north.
While American-based manufacturers will continue to suffer under the barrage of Chinese goods, Mexican industry will be smashed flat by what should be called a new Silk Road rather than a NAFTA highway. The economic development goals of NAFTA are being abandoned.
More than 600 of the maquiladoras assembly plants along the U.S.-Mexican border have relocated to China, leaving their Mexican workers behind. There is little chance for Mexican wages to rise if at $1.50 an hour they can be undercut by Chinese labor at 50 cents an hour. NAFTA was to be a way to lift Mexicans out of poverty and stem illegal immigration to America. A similar argument was made last year about the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). As South Carolina Republican Rep. Bob Inglis said during that floor debate, “I stand here convinced that it is the best strategy available to combine with our neighbors to the south to compete with the Chinese.”
The new transport plans make a mockery of these arguments, as they are aimed purely at helping China improve its competitive advantage over all North and Central American rivals. What is being built is truly a “Highway of Death” for both NAFTA and CAFTA. The resulting regional turmoil will be felt in the United States.
I know Premier Calvert and Minister Eric Cline had an ‘economic mission’ to China last fall. And I know they talked with Chinese officials about Saskatchewan’s uranium industry, too. But I didn’t discover, until just now, that they met with Hutchison Whampoa, Wal-Mart’s partners. I mean, do they believe we really need more plastic?
2) CNW Group has a story about the Native American Energy Group ‘s belief that the NAFTA SuperCorridor will benefit their company, and by extent, I suppose, their people.
Attention Business Editors, Energy Editors:
NAFTA ”Super- Highway”Catalyst to NAEG Growth — Company Receives Proposal to Manage New Oil Refinery
FOREST HILLS, N.Y., September 27 /CNW/ – Native American Energy Group,
Inc. (the “Company” or “NAEG”) (OTC Pink Sheets: NVMG) is a publicly traded,
independent energy company that, in Aug 2006, announced its initial oil and
natural gas production on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northeast
Montana. The Company announced today that prevailing international, state and
local trends favor a more robust energy and economic environment in Montana,
especially in the Northeast quadrant, and this, it says is helping to maximize
economic development opportunities for NAEG already. Specifically, the
proposed NAFTA “Superhighway” or “International Mid-Continent Trade and
Transportation Corridor” as it has been called by the media that is to run
through N.E. Montana and that is designed to connect Mexico, Canada, and the
U.S. into one transportation system is being seen as a definite catalyst to the Company’s growth.
Seems to me that it’s more of a divide and rule kind of ploy.
3) There are days I cringe at what WorldNetDaily posts, but this caught my eye. The indoctrination of the ‘new leaders of tomorrow’ continues:
The New World Disorder
N. American students trained for ‘merger’
10 universities participate in ‘model Parliament’ in Mexico to simulate ‘integration’ of 3 nations Posted: September 25, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com
WASHINGTON – In another example of the way the three nations of North America are being drawn into a federation, or “merger,” students from 10 universities in the U.S., Mexico and Canada are participating annually in a simulated “model Parliament.”
Under the sponsorship of the Canadian based North American Forum on Integration, students met in the Mexican Senate for five days in May in an event dubbed “Triumvirate,” with organizers declaring “A North American Parliament is born.”
A similar event took place in the Canadian Senate in 2005.
The intentions of organizers are clear.
“The creation of a North American parliament, such as the one being simulated by these young people, should be considered,” explained Raymond Chretien, the president of the Triumvirate and the former Canadian ambassador to both Mexico and the U.S.
Just what we need, eh? More leaders to sell us out…