CIGI Papers, January, 2007
Upon Mexico's entry into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), neo-classical trade theory assumed, first, that it had the greatest potential for higher rates of growth, productivity and overall welfare gains due to its relatively underdeveloped status; and, second, that Mexico's adjustment to an integrated, liberal economy would be the most painful but also the most beneficial. It was envisioned that the blending of Mexico's endowment factors - cheap labour, natural resources and proximity to the US market - with the abundant capital and advanced technology of Canada and the US would maximize on NAFTA's competitive potential over the long-term. However, these expectations have yet to fully materialize. This paper reviews the convergence/divergence debate with regard to NAFTA and Mexico, and analyzes the empirical data that have been used to tout both the benefits and the costs of asymmetrical integration. In light of the standstill in Mexico's per capita growth since 2001, this paper concludes with a critique of the potential role of NAFTA as a development tool and argues that the steep regional asymmetries call for a more proactive continental strategy.
Consequences of an Emerging China: Is Development Space Disappearing for Latin American and the Caribbean?
The economic rise of China has caused a redrawing of global production and value chains, a restructuring of the global division of labour, and a restructuring of patterns of global demand and of the terms of trade. This paper examines the nature of the emerging economic relationship between Latin America and the Caribbean and China, and seeks to offer some reflections on the significance of this relationship for Latin American and Caribbean development. It begins with an overview of trade and investment relationships between Latin American countries and China, and examines the significance of the emergence of China for the region's development strategies and developmental prospects in greater detail. This paper reflects on the early impact of these emerging arrangements on the existing economic relationship between Latin America and the United States, and seeks in some ways to challenge understandings of this sort based on national economies and instead argues for a focus on global production and value chains, as well the new transnational division of labour.