In a television interview Friday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross argued that one of the problems with NAFTA is that the minimum wage in Mexico hasn’t climbed as fast as it should, CNN reported.
That means that employers can still find significantly cheaper labor in Mexico. It also means that Mexican workers don’t have the money to buy higher-priced U.S.-made goods.
He made a similar point at his confirmation hearing. “The minimum wage in Mexico has barely changed in pesos for quite a few years. And the peso has depreciated quite a lot against the dollar,” he told senators. “So on a purchasing power basis, the average Mexican worker is far worse off than he or she was five or 10 years ago. That was not the original intent of NAFTA.”
Ross is wrong when he says that the Mexican minimum wage has “barely gone up in peso terms.” The Mexican minimum wage has increased 11 times since 2009, rising by about 50%. The U.S. minimum wage has not increased since 2009.
But even with all those increases, the Mexican minimum wage is a fraction of the U.S. minimum wage. Workers there must be paid at least 80 pesos a day, which works out to only about $4. The U.S. minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, or $58 for an 8-hour day.
Ross wasn’t asked on either occasion what he thought about the campaign to raise the minimum wage in the U.S. But in the past the billionaire secretary has opposed the idea. He argued that a higher minimum wage would hurt workers because they will be replaced by robots and automation.
“They ought to be running ads against the minimum wage increases saying ‘Only robots want the higher minimum wage,'” he told Fox Business in November 2015.
The Commerce department did not respond to a request for comment from Ross on the U.S. or Mexican minimum wages
The U.S. minimum wage workers in the U.S. have also lost ground due to inflation. The U.S. minimum would need to be $8.21 an hour today to the same purchasing power that the $7.25 minimum wage had in 2009, the last time the U.S. minimum wage increased.
more recommended stories
Mérida City Council will take “vulnerable social groups” representatives to visit Logos Hope
MÉRIDA, Yuc.- The City Council of.
Four deaths in Yucatán due to Influenza: State Health Secretariat
After days of waiting to have.
Mexico opposes U.S. plan to make it take asylum seekers -document, source
MEXICO CITY, July 12 (Reuters) –.
Mexican scientists develop fetal monitoring device
Specialists from the Center for Industrial.
800,000 tourists are expected to visit Yucatan this summer
“During this summer holiday season it.
Yucatecan guayabera will be present at the Central American and Caribbean Games of Barranquilla 2018
The president of the National Chamber.
Mérida teen electrocuted by cell phone charger cable
A 15-year-old girl died after she.
One&Only Palmilla a state-of-the-art beach resort by the Sea of Cortez
The One&Only Palmilla sits by the.
“Chayote” the Mexican super-food that could cure cancerous tumors
After a decade of research and.
Hoteliers of Cancún seek promotion in new international markets
Despite the situation faced by hoteliers.