Although it’s doubtful that one score of years having been reached in 2013 will be greeted with fireworks, balloons and round-the-clock celebrations, the overwhelming conclusion seems that the North American Free Trade Authority, championed by the U.S., Mexican and Canadian governments alike, can be considered a resounding success.

Although overshadowed by the ongoing drug wars, Mexico’s economy has flourished substantially since the consummation of NAFTA . In fact, this has led to the formation of a sizable middle class in the past decade, the first time in that U.S. Southern neighbor’s history. A vastly increased import-export trade with the U.S. in the context of NAFTA has catapulted Mexico into the status of a near trillion dollar gross domestic product, a rarity among developing nations. Along with Brazil, Mexico is only one of two Latin American nations to achieve that status.

Enhancing its doubling population in less than 50 years (to well over 120 million), Mexico has also been blessed with major offshore oil discoveries, as well as rare metals (primarily silver) and a variety of natural resources found in its ample mountainous areas. The creation of jobs, despite its accelerated growth population, has absorbed enough personnel power overflow to diminish the record border crossings into the U.S., This has tended to somewhat lessen the illegal immigrant problem than has continued to mar U.S.-Mexican bilateral relations. The Maquiladoras (tariff-free U.S. industrial production zones south of the border) have continued to expand from their previous existence before NAFTA.

via NAFTA Approaches Successful 20-Year Anniversary in 2013 | Morris Beschloss on Economics.