Refresher: NAFTA Wasn’t Bad, and CAFTA Won’t Be, Either

By August 27, 2005Dobbs Watch

Dobbs WatchIn the face of Lou Dobbs’ (and others) inability to let the recent CAFTA vote go, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind folks of some very important facts. Dobbs & Co. were fond of invoking NAFTA as a reason to oppose CAFTA. They rhymed, which made it even neater. The truth (nobody on that side much cares about the truth, it seems) is that NAFTA didn’t cause the trade deficit, and neither will CAFTA exacerbate it. Yet Lou continues to harp on it, even linking to an anti-trade site to further his antediluvian views.

A study conducted in the heat of the CAFTA battle showed that manufacturing imports from NAFTA countries actually declined during the 2001-2003 manufacturing recession. More than half our trade deficit with NAFTA countries is in oil. Since NAFTA took effect, manufacturing exports to NAFTA countries have grown 55% faster than to the rest of the world. And, NAFTA countries are now the largest export market for 46 of the 50 states. Here’s a link to the full study. As we like to say, facts are stubborn things.

Let’s hope we have this kind of “bad experience” with CAFTA, no?