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Work Smarter, Don't Erect Trade Barriers

May 05, 1991

Catherine Collins' article, "Environment, Workplace Issues Complicate Mexico Free-Trade Talks" (April 21), was reasonably even-handed, although it seemed that the nays received a little more press than those in favor.

As the owner of a maquiladora , I believe that workplace conditions and the environment are improved by the American and Japanese companies, not degraded by them, as some people would suggest. We bring an attitude conditioned by our culture and ethics that almost subconsciously affects the manner in which our businesses are conducted.

I believe the hidden agenda in this issue is the American work force's fear, i.e. labor unions, that more jobs will be lost as industry relocates across the border. The free-trade agreement will not speed up the process; products have been manufactured in Mexico, Taiwan and elsewhere for some time and that will continue.

If Americans want to save jobs at home, we need to work smarter and learn ways to be more competitive, rather than simply erecting protectionist barriers.

GARY G. DAVIS

The writer is president of Hallmark Medical Inc. in Irvine.

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