Time To Renegotiate NAFTA, Not Expand It

Posted on Friday, April 18 at 15:22 by sthompson

NA legislatives: Time to renegotiate NAFTA, not expand it
By Peter Julian, Marcy Kaptur, and Yeidckol Polevnsky

The Georgia Straight

When Prime Minister Harper meets his counterparts Felipe Calderon of Mexico and George Bush of the United States in New Orleans this week for the fourth summit of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, NAFTA itself will not be on the agenda. Nevertheless, the reinvigorated debate over that landmark trade and investment deal in our three countries—which became highly visible during the recent dust up between Prime Minister Harper’s office and both U.S. Democratic presidential candidates—ensures that it will be an elephant in the room.

Launched in 2005 by the three NAFTA countries, the SPP was billed as an initiative to “develop new avenues of cooperation that will make our open societies safer and more secure, our businesses more competitive, and our economies more resilient.” That sounds good, but after three years and four summits it has become increasingly clear that the SPP is an attempt to expand the reach of NAFTA using stealth to circumvent the debate our three democracies demand.

Under the SPP, these heads of state—advised solely by a body of 35, elite corporate CEOs—have committed Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. to a series of regulations, rule changes, and other executive decrees that are not subject to the scrutiny and oversight of the three countries’ nationally elected legislative bodies. The SPP affects over 300 areas of government responsibility, from energy production and environmental protection to national security and public health.

Let us be clear: we strongly believe in regional cooperation and reciprocity on matters of mutual concern like environmental protection. However, we reject the idea that acceptable hemispheric policy on such important matters can emerge from cloistered summit meetings that exclude the public, civil society, trade unions, the media, and—in violation of the constitutional traditions of all three of our countries—transparent legislative oversight...

Full article: NA legislatives: Time to renegotiate NAFTA, not expand it

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