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 MEXICO CITY, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- NAFTA won't drain jobs from the U.S. to Mexico, John F. Smith, chief executive officer and president of General Motors (NYSE: GM), predicted here today.
 "The real impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement will not be the loss of jobs, but the creation of jobs in Mexico, Canada, and the United States, as trade among them increases," he told a meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico.
 "Opponents to NAFTA keep making dramatic and emotional charges," he declared. "I think they're just dead wrong."
 "Let us hope that common sense and understanding of the economic facts will ultimately prevail over the emotions that critics are trying to arouse today."
 Smith compared objections to NAFTA to fears raised against the admission of Spain and Portugal to the European Community in the 1980s, which he experienced when he was president of GM Europe. "The great paranoia was that the elimination of trade barriers would lead to a mass exodus of manufacturing jobs from the more industrialized countries to Spain and Portugal because of the gap in wages."
 "Just the opposite occurred," he noted. "Elimination of the trade barriers has led to growth of wages in both Spain and Portugal. There has been no mass exodus of jobs from other EC countries. Spanish and Portuguese consumers have increased their purchases of goods produced in the rest of the EC, particularly automobiles. And there has been significant real economic growth in the entire EC as well as Spain and Portugal."
 "The misinformed and fear-mongering opponents of NAFTA would do well to study that experience, especially the growth in wages and vehicle purchases in Portugal," he declared.
 Globalization is an irreversible trend for all industries and businesses, and the time is overdue for leaders of government, labor, and business in all countries to recognize its implications, Smith said.
 "Companies that don't think globally will be left behind," he said. "And so will the countries whose policies impede rather than encourage companies to do so."
 "Most of the potential customers and most of the potential growth for most products are beyond the U.S.," he noted. "That's the real message that needs to be communicated to people who see ideas such as NAFTA as threats rather than opportunities for U.S. industries and jobs."
 President Salinas of Mexico always describes NAFTA as a win-win-win situation for Canada, the United States, and Mexico, Smith said. "That is also the view of General Motors. As a major employer, manufacturer, and marketer in all three countries, we have been a strong supporter of NAFTA from the outset."
 "What's happening in Mexico in the '90s is a preview of what we can expect in many other regions over the next two decades, as the traditional barriers that separate markets continue to dissolve," he pointed out.
 "The vehicle market is a good barometer of general economic conditions and trends, and the vehicle market in Mexico and the rest of Latin America has already outpaced most other regions in the '90s. In Mexico, for example, vehicle sales over the past five years have surpassed all previous records."
 -0- 10/14/93
 /CONTACT: Jack R. Harned of GM, 313-556-2028/

CO: General Motors Corporation ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:

SB -- DE038 -- 2364 10/14/93 15:16 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 14, 1993

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