MEXICO CITY -- Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari called the ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement a triumph for Mexico and said the pact will prompt increased commercial activity in the nation.
However, the leader added in a nationally televised address late Tuesday that Mexico still needs to generate more jobs and that work is necessary to obtain the full range of benefits NAFTA offers.
'We should see in the Mexican Senate's approval of the treaty, yes, a triumph of the country,' Salinas said in the taped address to mark late Monday's Senate vote. He praised NAFTA as a means to bring more investment to Mexico, to create jobs and to help improve the well-being of the population.
The Mexican Senate's 56-2 approval of NAFTA, which would eliminate the U.S., Mexican and Canadian economic borders over a 15-year period, comes on the heels of last week's favorable vote by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Salinas used the national address to praise other advances made during his administration, such as the renegotiation of the country's foreign debt and the reduction of its domestic debt. But he called NAFTA 'an incentive to change and to compete,' underscoring its importance to reviving Mexico's economy.
'There is no doubt, we are in march,' he said. 'But it is necessary to work to make this a reality and to make it benefit all.'