As President-elect Donald Trump celebrates his deal with United Technologies to keep 1,000 jobs at a U.S.-based Carrier plant, Walmart is busy preparing to expand its operations in Mexico.
Specifically, the multi-national retail corporation intends to invest $1.3 billion into the Mexican economy to build new shopping centers and expand existing ones.
“The investment is funded by Walmex and is necessary for expansion of Wal-Mart’s Mexican business,” company spokeswoman Jo Warner told Reuters, referencing the company’s Mexico division.
The investment will spur the creation of 10,000 permanent new jobs in Mexico, according to the company’s chief executive, Guilherme Loureiro, though it will do nothing to help the United States.
“It will involve the building of new distribution centers, as well as the expansion of ones we already have,” he said at a Dec. 7 event alongside Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and several administration officials, including Economy secretary Ildefonso Guajardo, who added his own statement about the deal.
“For those who doubt today of what we are capable of achieving with free trade, I invite you to go through one of the aisles at a Wal-Mart,” he said.
Herein lies the reason Walmart’s new investment could potentially draw blowback from Trump. TheBlaze noted that it is in some ways equivalent to a “snub” given his “vehement critic[ism] of the NAFTA agreement that opened up trade with Mexico.”
“Nafta is the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country,” he declared during the first presidential debate three months ago against then-Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton:
It should be kept in mind that the investment plan will not require the relocation of any jobs from the U.S. to its southern neighbor.
Moreover, some argue that investments into Mexico’s economy could even incentivize Mexicans to remain in their country instead of seeking illegal entry into the United States.
“Over the long-term … a successful free trade agreement could reduce immigration by improving Mexicans’ political freedom and quality of life, diminishing the prospects of mass asylum movements from Mexico,” David Simcox, former chairman of the Center for Immigration Studies, predicted in 1991, prior to the implementation of NAFTA.
In a piece written 16 years later, however, The New York Times columnist Louis Uchitelle pointed out that “the number of illegal immigrants has only continued to rise,” despite NAFTA’s implementation.
This, incidentally enough, is exactly why Trump opposes NAFTA and could conceivably oppose Walmart’s new investment as well.
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