Mexican farmers to form human wall to protest NAFTA

By Prensa Latina

Mexico City : Thousands of Mexican farmers and social group members will form a human wall Tuesday along the border checkpoint in Ciudad Juarez to protest the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

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“That human wall will be formed on the Cordoba-Americas International Bridge in Ciudad Juarez, state of Chihuahua, to criticise the NAFTA on agricultural sectors,” the Farmers’ Democratic Front of Mexico said.

Mexican farm sector has been opposing NAFTA, saying it pushes them into unequal competition with the US in globalised agribusiness and hurts even the non-farming sector of the economy.

They have been demanding that the government renegotiate the treaty and keep the basic products of family shopping basket out of the trade treaties.

“This protest is part of the campaign, which started July 25 with the goal of ending the free entry of US corn, beans, powdered milk and sugarcane into the market, and to urge the (Mexican) federal government to begin a re-negotiation process of the farming section of the NAFTA documents,” the organisers said in a statement.

The Farmers’ Democratic Front is a member of the national food sovereignty campaign of Mexico, made up of more than 300 groups, which have been demanding the immediate suspension of the farm section of the treaty.

NAFTA, signed among the US, Canada and Mexico in 1994, calls for elimination of majority of tariffs on products traded among the three countries that is seen to give north American products a large competitive edge over Mexican goods.

It also calls for gradual elimination of other tariffs over a period of next 10 years.

Restrictions were to be removed from many categories, including motor vehicles, computers, textiles, and agriculture. The treaty also protects intellectual property rights (patents, copyrights, and trademarks), and outlines the removal of investment restrictions among the three countries.