FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2017
Today, negotiations for NAFTA begin. This comes amid an unfortunate, but now predictable, lack of transparency and public participation around trade negotiations, which threatens to sacrifice the public interest for corporate advantage. True transparency during negotiations means publishing draft versions of US proposals for all sections of the trade agreement before the text is consolidated, incorporating public comment on the proposals, and allowing for meaningful public participation in the negotiations. Promoting human rights, increasing economic equality, safeguarding the climate and protecting the environment should be integral objectives for the NAFTA parties. CIEL joins social movements, trade unions, farmers, migrants, and indigenous peoples in calling for an agreement that protects the environment, promotes economic equality, and respects human rights, and in opposing any agreement that advances corporate interests at the expense of people and the environment.
To read more about CIEL’s position regarding the renegotiation of NAFTA see:
CIEL submitted comments to USTR on negotiating priorities for NAFTA that put people and the planet at the center of any new agreement. More than 1,400 of CIEL’s supporters signed on to these comments. Read more.
United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer released the US NAFTA negotiating objectives on July 17, 2017, in keeping with the plan to open negotiations on August 16. The ‘detailed’ objectives are neither detailed nor comprehensive, failing to explain how the agreement, if successfully concluded, will further the objectives required by the 2015 Trade Promotion Act (TPA). The ambiguity is coupled with the surprising fact that in many places, the objectives simply copy the TPA requirements word for word. Read more.
While much of the global community is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate impacts, the US and Mexico are rushing to access and exploit Mexico’s untapped oil and gas reserves. Mexico’s recent energy reform has opened the doors to private foreign investment; meanwhile, the upcoming renegotiation of NAFTA will compound current changes to the energy sector, likely strengthening protection of foreign investment in hydrocarbons. The big loser will be the environment, local communities, and future generations whose livelihoods depend on decisive action to reduce oil production. Read more.
Since the enactment of NAFTA, there has been a substantial expansion of resource-intensive industries in North America at the expense of the environment, workers’ rights, and local economies. In addition, excessive investor protections have led to weakened environmental, labor, and health regulations in each of the NAFTA countries. However, the renegotiation poses not only a looming threat, but a potential opportunity to re-engage on NAFTA – to use this moment to make it impossible to ignore concerns about the environment, human rights, and economic inequality inherent in the current NAFTA deal. Read more.