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Abstract

During negotiations leading up to NAFTA there was considerable opposition from produce producers in U.S. southern tier states. These producers feared that NAFTA, combined with Mexico's low labour and land costs, would unleash an unstoppable torrent of Mexican imports. Since enactment of NAFTA, Mexico's market share for produce in the U.S. has increased, while those of the southern tier producers have fallen. Seemingly this confirms earlier fears and threatens to harden sentiments against broader trade agreements. However, analyses of the volumes and distributions of produce shipments from 1985 through 1998 for southern tier states, Mexico, and, to facilitate comparisons, Canada and Chile, suggest that NAFTA had little, if anything, to do with these changes.

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