COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Research from Dr. Raymond Robertson of the Bush School of Government and Public Service shows strong evidence for the North American Free Trade Agreement’s benefits.

The Bush School of Government and Public Service is a graduate college of Texas A&M University. The school is named in honor of former US President George H. W. Bush.

Dr. Raymond Robertson

“The objections to NAFTA are really about labor market adjustment problems more broadly. Ending NAFTA won’t solve those problems,” Robertson said. “Furthermore, Canada and Mexico are the United States’ top trading partners and empirical evidence shows that all three countries reap significant economic benefits from the relationship.”

President Trump gave formal notice Thursday he will renegotiate NAFTA, a free trade deal between the US, Canada and Mexico. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer sent a letter to Congress that triggers a 90-day consultation period among the administration, Congress and business. As a result, negotiations can begin in August.

Robertson’s short policy brief on NAFTA is titled “The NAFTA Intellect Disconnect: Actual Costs and Benefits versus Popular Perceptions.” It is published by the Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics, and Public Policy.

In the article, Robertson argues that “the most accurate way to think of the NAFTA economic area is as one integrated economy rather than three separate ones. That is, rather than thinking of Mexico as a competitor, we should think of Mexico as a partner in our national production process.”

Robertson is a professor and holder of the Helen and Roy Ryu Chair in Economics and Government in the Department of International Affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service. He is a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany.

Robertson earned a BA in political science and economics from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and an MS and PhD in economics from the University of Texas at Austin. He has taught at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, and was a visiting professor in the Department of Economics at the Graduate School of Administration, Monterrey Institute of Technology’s Mexico City campus.

Widely published in the field of labor economics and international economics, Robertson currently chairs the US Department of Labor’s National Advisory Committee for Labor Provisions of the U.S. Free Trade Agreements and is a member of the Center for Global Development’s advisory board.

“What’s the takeaway? Overall, NAFTA’s effects have been small but positive for both Mexico and the United States,” Robertson states, in his policy brief. “Free trade agreements lead to increased exports and imports. U.S. exports are often linked to US jobs. U.S. consumers benefit significantly from imports. The overall benefits of trade outweigh the costs.”

Editor’s Note: Click here to read Robertson’s analysis of the impact of NAFTA.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying this story shows trucks waiting in a long queue for border customs control to cross into the U.S. at the Otay border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico, on Feb. 2, 2017. (Photo: Jorge Duenes/Reuters)

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