Quiz: How Much Do You Know About NAFTA?

When the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect five years ago, its proponents were crowing about the 200,000 new jobs it would create in the United States, the prosperity it would bring to Mexico, and the environmental initiatives it would spur. Well, the report card’s in (a study by Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, to be precise), and, as The Nation (Jan. 25, 1999) reports, the results certainly have been surprising. This reality check will get you current on NAFTA’s impact–and help you measure your own feelings about free trade.

1. Number of certified U.S. jobs lost to NAFTA, according to U.S. government figures:

a) 1.3 million
b) 214,902
c) 4,638
d) None

2. Four of every ten U.S. products exported to Mexico consist of:

a) Assorted military hardware to squash the Chiapas rebels
b) Parts shipped to plants owned by American companies to be assembled and sold in the United States
c) Licensed NBA or Major League Baseball merchandise
d) Tortillas, salsa, and other Mexican food

3. Mexican productivity has soared by 36.4 percent since NAFTA, while wages have:

a) Decreased by 72 percent
b) Decreased by 29 percent
c) Remained essentially unchanged
d) Increased by 13.8 percent

4. Half of all U.S.-imported produce now comes from Mexico. What percentage of this produce is inspected?

a) 90 percent, but the inspectors are bribed
b) Less than 2 percent
c) 58 percent
d) 100 percent, with the assistance of the U.S. government

5. Toxic waste disposal practices by maquiladoras (border-zone factories) in the Brownsville, Texas-Matamoros, Mexico, area have contributed to:

a) A steep increase in the sale of 55-gallon drums
b) A steep increase in birth defects
c) A steep increase in shareholder dividends
d) A renewed commitment to environmental protection on the part of the Mexican government

6. Percentage of Americans who still believe NAFTA is a good idea:

a) 0.0000000075471 percent (basically, Al Gore and Bill Clinton)
b) 42 percent
c) 83 percent
d) everybody but Ross Perot

Scoring: Give yourself 5 points for every (a) answer, 10 points for every (b) answer, 15 points for every (c) answer, and 20 points for every (d) answer. Then calculate your Secret Free Trade Persona:

30 points: openly anti-NAFTA terrorist, willing to consider acts of economic sabotage; 35-60: aspiring Naderite,willing to conduct phone surveys;
65-90: liberal Democrat, willing to respond to surveys;
95-115: eager pawn of big business, willing to run for Congress;
120 points: openly pro-NAFTA terrorist, willing to work in the Gore administration.

(For those of you interested in reality, answer (b) in each case is correct.)

In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.