U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor's tough stand on environment and labor reforms (editorial, March 11) for the passing of the North American Free Trade Agreement is understandable. It will be a gross mistake to overlook Mexico's sordid conditions in maquiladoras, its serious public health problems in border communities and the myriad American firms moving south to escape U.S. workplace regulations.
Mexico must take note that NAFTA will open a large section of its economy to investment from the United States and Canada. It will create a bilateral free trade in almost all farm products and apparel while doing away with import quotas, licensing schemes, discriminatory procurement by government agencies and state-owned companies. They have as much to gain from this pact as the United States and Canada. The NAFTA language emphasizes and holds Mexico to legal standards comparable to those in the U.S.; therefore, it is equally important for Kantor to ask for the reforms in environment and labor.