`Free Trade Isn't Painless'

This was the moment Mexico had been waiting for: its debut in the First World. After 18 months of up-and-down negotiations, a beaming President Carlos Salinas de Gortari appeared on nationwide television on Aug. 12 and triumphantly raised a weighty tome, the completed North American Free Trade Agreement. Was there a carnival of mariachis in the streets? Hardly. Within two days, the limp Mexican stock market slumped an additional 2%.

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