July 14, 2017 — Global Affairs Canada invited Canadians to submit their views on the renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Renegotiations are set to begin in mid-August.
Today, the Trade Justice Network submitted a brief outlining several of the main problems with NAFTA. As NAFTA increased trade across borders and contributed to economic integration between Canada, the United States and Mexico, it has been accompanied by a host of devastating impacts on people, the environment and democracy across the continent. Some of those well-documented impacts are outlined in this submission, including a rise in inequality, the expansion of investor rights, the weakening of labour rights, environmental degradation, the deterioration of agricultural systems and the lowering of public health and consumer protection standards. The NAFTA renegotiations must take into consideration the impacts of NAFTA to date in order to develop a fairer trade relationship going forward.
In our submission, we point to alternatives—the core principles and elements that must characterize any new agreement for North American trade and economic integration, as well as the process to develop it. A new agreement or model for trade and cooperation must protect labour rights (including those of migrant workers) and human rights; agricultural production, rural communities and food sovereignty; environmental sustainability; democracy and government’s right to regulate. The negotiation and development process must be democratic, transparent and participatory. We call on the Canadian government to commit to upholding these rights and principles. North American needs an alternative model for fairer, more socially just trade.
Read the full submission here: Submission to the NAFTA Consultations – July 2017