Activists protest NAFTA deadline end

January 2, 2008 4:30:24 PM PST
Immigration activists staged a protest Wednesday in front of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, 30 S. Wacker Dr., concerning America's trade policies.The group, Center Without Borders, says newly enacted free trade measures between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada are hurting Mexican farmers.

The agreement allows corn and beans to be imported without tariffs.

"NAFTA is finishing the job on Mexican farmers, an injustice that will drive hundreds of thousands more Mexican workers to the U.S. in order to support their families," said Rev. Walter Coleman.

Corn, beans, sugar and milk were given special 15-year import protections when the North American Free Trade Agreement was endorsed in 1993. Mexico was supposed to take advantage of the time to improve its economy. But the group says that did not happen before the new decision to lift import tariffs took effect Tuesday.