On this day, in 1993, President William Jefferson Clinton signed into law U.S. participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Since its enactment, between 1993 and 2003, the value of two-way U.S. trade with Mexico has almost tripled, from $81 billion to $232 billion, growing twice as fast as U.S. trade with the rest of the world, the entry of intra-company transfers from Mexico has increased by a factor of six, Mexican tourism has increased nearly threefold, the number of business and exchange visitors has nearly doubled, and the entry of Mexican investors has grown 30 times. Mexico is now the second-largest U.S. export market, and in the last year alone, the U.S. saw an 11.4 percent increase in American products shipped there — amounting to $151.5 billion. There can be no doubt that it has spurred trade, investment and economic integration in North America, in the process enhancing U.S. productivity and prosperity.

In contrast to the leadership shown by President Clinton in promoting job-creating free trade agreements, the Obama presidency has been disappointing at best. No initiative has been shown on creating new trade agreements, and the Administration is refusing to submit previously negotiated agreements to congress. The situation, however, seems to not only be one of inertia, but rather active hostility to free trade.
The Administration has already increased taxes  tires imported from China by up to 99%, and on steel by as much as a staggering 99%, killing thousands of jobs in the United States that rely on these cheap imports, as well as hurting families already struggling to pay their bills. Included within the omnibus spending bill Obama was a provision to end the pilot program to allow Mexican trucks to ship goods deep within U.S. borders, violating our obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Even worse, some are calling for a ‘carbon tarriff’, certain to destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs worldwide if implemented.
In a climate dominated by a global financial downturn, free trade agreements are critical to kick start the world economy, and create jobs for Americans. The value of trade was recognized by President Clinton. Let us hope that President Obama will soon come to the same realization.