Neo-liberal Free Trade Agreements Benefit Europe and U.S. While Impoverishing Latin America

By Lena Valverde | Radio Havana

Rightist Media outlets present Mexico as a flourishing and expanding market thanks to what they describe as the “benefits” of free trade agreements, although agricultural vulnerability and hunger cast doubt on such statements.

According to the Pan-American Health Organization, Mexico is currently undergoing a food emergency, for reasons that include the consumption of processed foodstuffs promoted and imposed by transnational companies to the detriment of natural food produced in the Central American country.

In the face of market depression, tens of thousands of Mexican farmers have undergone financial losses, which have worsened by the avalanche of products made in the U.S.A, as the main partner for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The trend to import food without tariffs also affects domestic production and increases dependence, to the point that Mexico is one of the three countries of the world importing the largest volumes of food.

As a result of vulnerable fields and the food habits imposed by transnational companies and the media, which favor consumerism, Mexico is witnessing increasing malnutrition, obesity and diabetes.

The imposition of cruel neo-liberal policies has a direct impact on rural areas and cause structural crises, factors closely linked to violence and migration.

Mexico is one of the countries deeply involved in free trade agreements, with 49 of those accords already signed with 44 countries.

These agreements constitute a trade formula which, if not appropriately implemented, becomes only in a source of profit — and a big profit, indeed – for its more industrialized partners.

For Nobel Economy Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, the free trade agreements constitute one of the most evident links between globalization and the increase of economic and social inequalities.

Many analysts describe Mexico and Northern African countries as “losers,” which have signed free trade agreements with partners who impose the toughest neo-liberal rules.

The United States and the European Union, under the influence of the global financial crisis, are desperately trying to stop their free-fall in front of the so-called emerging economies, with the signing of unfair commercial accords.

At the same time, the industrialized North subsidizes its agricultural produce, selling it at prices which are lower than those of their counterparts in less developed nations, and for this reason they will be favored by competition.

The free trade agreements fuel the liberalization of the trade flow, hinder spontaneous circulation of workers, increase the capacity to hire capital over labor and shrink salaries.

Although Mexico boasts a high industrialization level with an impact on its macroeconomic growth, the influence of the neo-liberal model forces the country to face deep social vulnerabilities.

This is a problem forgotten by world statistics, which are managed by evaluation agencies that keep the neo-liberal dogma on the highest altar.

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