The primary arguments against NAFTA are that the trade agreement leads to job loss and lower wages in the United States while promoting environmental pollution in Mexico. The problem lies in the difference between the labor and environmental regulatory standards of the United States and Mexico.
The University of Virginia identifies one of the major arguments against NAFTA as consisting in the unfair advantage it gives to the workforce of developing nations as a result of less-stringent labor regulations. Wages in Mexico are as low as 7 U.S. cents per hour. Naturally, American corporations are drawn to the prospect of saving millions of dollars by avoiding paying their employees minimum wage, sick leave, paid vacations, health insurance, equity sharing and retirement pensions. As a result, NAFTA leads to the relocation of many labor-intensive jobs in industries like textiles, furniture and automobiles. Those firms that do not relocate end up cutting wages and benefits in order to compete with foreign operations.
Another criticism of NAFTA is that it promotes pollution. Mexico lacks the strict environmental regulations of the United States. American corporations move their operations out of the country to avoid paying for cleaner practices and end up creating vast waste with health hazards for the people of Mexico.