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At least NAFTA has increased profits for one U.S. industry: lobbying firms.
Given that Mexico required a $50 billion bailout orchestrated by the United States last year after the peso crashed, one would think it might be short on cash. But, as reported by the Center for Public Integrity, Mexico spent at least $25 million from 1989 to 1993 on lobbying to secure passage of NAF TA. Since 1994, the country has spent another $9.7 million on well-heeled Washington lobbyists who make sure trade and loan negotiations go the government's way.
"The Mexican people knew that money influenced our country," said Javier Corral, a Chihuahua legislator who visited Washington, D.C., in May. "But we had no idea that the Mexican government could spend so much money to influence the [U.S.] government's decision." Among the U.S. firms to benefit: Mexico dispatched Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in 1994, on the eve of Mexico's financial crisis, to win the country valuable government friends. Mexico has paid the firm more than $4 million.