Sunday, March 28, 2010

Why repealing NAFTA would be a mistake

Recently, U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, joined with two other Democrats and a Republican to urge congress to repeal NAFTA. They claim that NAFTA has cost the US thousands of jobs and not lived up to expectations.

#1: Canada and Mexico are the United States two biggest trading partners

In 2008, the US exported over $251.5 billion dollars worth of goods to Canada (up 8.8% year over year), while exports to Mexico were $137.7 billion (up 2.6%).

U.S. goods exports to NAFTA partners have surged by 171 percent since 1993!!!

#2: The jobs lost in the US were low paying, unskilled labor jobs

Many politicians main arguement against NAFTA is that it has taken away jobs in manufacturing states like Ohio and Michigan. The fact is that globalization has created an environment where the lower skilled jobs will go to the developing countries. This would have happened with or without NAFTA. Instead of fighting to keep lower skilled jobs in America, we should concentrate on retraining our workforce and giving them the skills they need to survive in the global workplace.

#3: Increased exports will help many small and medium sized businesses grow

When domestic sales are decreasing or stagnant, the best place to look for increased sales is abroad. There are people around the world eager to buy products that are made in the USA, and with the weakened dollar, now is the time to take advantage of this trend. Increased sales from exports can help some companies through a recession.

See this great article at USA Today for some success stories:
Exports help U.S. companies climb out of recession

#4: Withdrawing from NAFTA would hurt US farmers and manufacturers the most.

One of the reasons US agriculture has been so successful in other countries is because of the preferential tariffs we receive as a benefit from NAFTA. If the US were to withdrawl, we would no longer be seen as a preferred trading partner and Canada and Mexico would look elsewhere to acquire their produce, grains, etc., leaving the US manufacturers out in the cold.

Let's keep it real here...we are not currently at 10-12% unemployment in the United States because of NAFTA. Would repealing NAFTA send thousands of jobs back to the US? No! These low paying, unskilled jobs went away for a reason. NAFTA provides the opportunity for our small and medium businesses to grow and the United States to compete globally.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

US plan to double exports over next 5 years

Obama recently spoke about doubling US exports over the next 5 years as a way to stimulate small and medium sized businesses.

Read more here: Obama Details Effort to Double Exports Over the Next 5 Years

If the government truly provides the necessary support to make this happen, it will be great news for business owners all over the US. There are a number of companies that have survived the economic downturn in the US due to the simple fact that they looked OUTSIDE of the United States for incremental revenue.

How to get an FM3 (or Mexican work visa)

One of the questions I am asked most often by people looking to open businesses or work in Mexico is "How do I get an FM3?". The FM3 is similar to a H1-B visa in the United States. It gives you the legal right to live and work in the country.

Check out my simplified article on how to get your FM3

I've had experience getting an FM3 on both sides of the border, and for some reason getting your FM3 at the Mexican consulate (locations in several big cities) seems to be easier.

If you are already in Mexico, your best bet is to go to the Instituto Nacional de Migracion in Mexico City with all of your paperwork:

Visa application (can be downloaded online)
5 passport sized photos (no earrings, hair must be down, no glasses, 3 frontal, 2 profile)
Copy of every single page of your passport
A letter, on company letterhead, from the company you will be working for stating your position, your salary, and the fact that they will be financially responsible for you during your stay in Mexico
Receipt of payment of fee (check with INM for costs)

The FM3 should be issued within 35 days.

If you don't speak Spanish that well, or you would just rather have someone else handle it, I recommend hiring a qualified lawyer. They will explain the process and take care of all of the paperwork and headaches so that you don't have to.

If you are in Mexico City, I highly recommend the law firm of Becker and Becker. Their staff is bilingual and very well versed in Mexican immigration law.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Thanks for stopping by my blog! This blog is intended to be a compliation of everything having to do with entrepreneurship, international trade, and doing business in Mexico.