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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.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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