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Will NAFTA Be Good for the Continent?

As someone who now lives along the United States-Canada border, and who lived for several years along the US-Mexico border, I must reply to the one-sided Opinion page article "Give NAFTA Its Due," May 18.

While the author states that "the Mexican economy is bubbling along at a respectable clip" and that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will "push wage levels higher" in Mexico, there are no valid data to suggest that wage levels are rising for either factory or service-sector employees in Mexico or the US. The opposite situation is more accurate; real wage levels, when adjusted for inflation, have fallen over the past decade in both countries.

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Perhaps we should ask our neighbors to the north what they now think of NAFTA. Could it be a primary reason for the 15 percent approval rating their prime minister enjoys in the polls?

The European Community is presently engaged in an economic and political restructuring aimed at upgrading workplace standards and environmental protection throughout their continent. The story the press is missing is that NAFTA mandates a lowering of both on our continent. Corlan Carlson, Bellingham, Wash. Russian weapons testing

Regarding the Opinion page article "Yeltsin's Ominous Move to Resume Nuclear Testing," May 11: The first two-thirds of the article is devoted to possible reasons why Russia is taking the action it is and pointing out that it can scarcely afford such activities. Only in the last quarter of the article does the information appear that the US is planning another six tests in 1992 to ensure that our warheads still work. Doesn't this more than explain Russia's current concern and motivation? Malcolm Tweedy, Fort Davis, Texas The owl as a symbol

Regarding the article "Split Decision On Spotted Owl Is Inconclusive," May 18: In our neck of the woods near Yosemite, we are aware that logging during the past 150 years has decimated more than just the old-growth forest. It has also decimated the habitat for the pileated woodpecker, the Yosemite skink, and the flying squirrel. In fact, though largely ignored by the press, logging can be given credit for the current infestation by the 40 different kinds of pine beetles wiping out whole areas of Ponderos a pines.

When will it become clear to non-ecologists that the spotted owl is a symbol standing for a host of birds, mammals, insects, and other trees and shrubs that compose the ecological balance of our forest lands? Allan Shields, Mariposa, Calif. Deciding what's best for the US

In the Opinion page article "The Business of the President Is Not Business," May 7, the author claims that we need to restore the influence of political parties in the United States. What we really need to do is reduce the influence of political parties. We cannot continue to make decisions based simply along party lines. We must make our decisions based on the question: What is best for our country? David Rodriguez, Tallahassee, Fla.

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