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      Valley Benefits from NAFTA

      Despite a severe recession in both countries, thousands of trucks will cross the U.S./Mexico border using one of the 10 functioning bridges in the Rio Grande Valley.

      The trucks transport a variety of goods between both countries and Canada under the North American Free Trade Association, better known as NAFTA.

      Gilberto Salinas is the vice president for the Brownsville Economic Development Council.

      He said the Valley has largely benefited from NAFTA, tripling in size and business in more than a decade.

      "The Rio Grande Valley, were doing ok, and ok is good right now, he said. If NAFTA was not here right now, if we did not have NAFTA we could be doing a lot worse."

      According to Salinas, the Valley has seen a 1 to 2 percent decline in business.

      He said the number of jobs lost is in the hundreds, what he referred to as a small number looking at the bigger picture.

      The BDEC said they have noticed that for every job created in the Valley, seven are created in Mexico.

      But similarly...for everyone job that is lost on this side, seven jobs are lost across the border.

      But for the everyday person, Salinas said the biggest impact NAFTA will have on them is in their wallets.

      "NAFTA has helped in reducing prices for the regular consumer."

      To him the bottom line is that NAFTA can only help the valley grow out of the recession and move forward.