Amid Immigration Debate, a Key Mexican Presidential Election Looms

The fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement hangs in the balance as Mexican voters head to the ballot box, this weekend, to elect a new president, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

Early polls show that the front runner is left-wing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Rice University Professor Tony Payan, who is in Mexico, says the former Mexico City mayor brings a nationalistic approach that some compare to U.S. President Donald Trump.  While he supports NAFTA, Payan says he won’t cry if the trade deal is burned to the ground, which he says would end three decades of shared economic success

"(Lopez Obrador's election) might be, in the end, a detriment to the American consumer and American competitiveness."

He says the trade deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada has allowed North America to compete with Asia.  Without it, he says, each nation would be less competitive.

"That's a model that is going to cause a lot of pain," he explains.  "It's going to increase prices for everyone on both sides of the border."

NAFTA was signed in San Antonio in 1991.  At that time, Texas exported $15.5 billion in goods to Mexico.  By 2015, that had increased six fold. Last year, U.S. Department of Commerce statistics show the state's export industry employed more than one-million people, which is the most in the nation.

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