I just got back from a crazy trip in Mexico a couple of days ago, so my presence has been limited here. I hitched a ride down with a buddy of mine (I wanted to get down to LA and thought that Mexico would be nice pit stop).
My buddy’s van broke down outside of Ensenada and it took us a while to get out of there, but not too much longer than it would here in the US. Our problem had more to do with language barriers than with getting parts or getting ripped off. When we finally got to a mechanic shop it was about four o’clock, and the shop closed at 5.
They sent a guy out with us to do work on-site (we tagged along in the company’s truck and there was no charge for gasoline) and about a half-hour to five he called it quits and towed the van (himself) to the shop, where they told us it would be ready about 1 PM the next day.
As typical gringos do, we showed up at 1 they had everything ready for us. They even repaired the leaky radiator at no extra charge.
I think this is a small, anecdotal story that shows just how incredibly beneficial economic integration has been for both the US and Mexico. Imagine that there was no NAFTA in place when my buddy’s van broke down. My story would be radically different. I may have been “stuck” in Mexico waiting two or even three weeks for the right part to be shipped to that particular shop from some parochial partsmaker in Mexico.
Instead, I got to hang out in Ensenada and enjoy the beautiful weather and wonderful people who live in that city.
I think there needs to be more integration between the two countries. Dr Delacroix has a co-authored piece on how we can do just that, although I think that there is no reason not to have a full-fledged union.