North Amer­i­can or­ga­ni­za­tions call on the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment to stand up to Wash­ing­ton’s bul­ly­ing on NAFTA, and to strike a fair trade deal

The Southwest Booster - - FRONT PAGE -

The po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic cli­mate in which Canada, Mex­ico and the United States be­gan the NAFTA rene­go­ti­a­tions in 2017 has de­te­ri­o­rated dras­ti­cally in 2018, with Canada re­cently be­ing ef­fec­tively shut out. In the last week of Au­gust a tweet from U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump an­nounced that the acro­nym NAFTA would be buried for­ever to be re­placed by a new deal, the U.s.-mex­ico trade agree­ment.

Or­ga­ni­za­tions from Canada, Mex­ico and the U.S. de­nounce Trump’s ‘di­vide and con­quer’ strat­egy which has po­ten­tially led a three coun­try trade agree­ment to be­ing re­duced to two bi-lat­er­als.

Ac­cord­ing to the Coun­cil of Cana­di­ans Hon­orary Chair­per­son Maude Bar­low: “Trump’s an­nounce­ment of a trade deal with Mex­ico shows what we said 30 years ago about free trade with the US: putting all our trade apples in one bas­ket would give the U.S. gov­ern­ment and Amer­i­can cor­po­ra­tions too much power over Canada. We were right!”

The United States Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive has stated: “The United States and Mex­ico have reached a pre­lim­i­nary agree­ment in prin­ci­ple, sub­ject to fi­nal­iza­tion and im­ple­men­ta­tion.” Ac­cord­ing to Manuel Perez-rocha, As­so­ciate Fel­low with the Wash­ing­ton-based In­sti­tute for Pol­icy Stud­ies (IPS): “The NAFTA renegotiation has reached a Kafkaesque stage. Not only have the ne­go­ti­a­tions not been fi­nal­ized, and have re­cently been mi­nus Canada, but the texts re­main hid­den from the pub­lic.”

“We call on Canada to re­ject the pres­sure to im­me­di­ately ac­cept the trade ar­range­ment be­tween the U.S. and Mex­ico that Trump would wish to trum­pet as a pro­pa­ganda suc­cess in the lead up to the U.S. Novem­ber mid-term elec­tions. Dead­lines such as this one are noth­ing more than pres­sure tac­tics to force the trade ne­go­tia­tors into com­pro­mises when most likely it will not be the cur­rent U.S. Congress that will deal with it,” said pro­fes­sor Al­berto Ar­royo Pi­card from the Au­ton­o­mous Metropoli­tan Univer­sity (Mex­ico), and a mem­ber of the coali­tion Mex­ico Bet­ter With­out FTAS. Ar­royo added: “Though the cur­rent Mex­i­can ne­go­tia­tors hyp­o­crit­i­cally state that they want Canada to be part of the treaty, the truth is that it will be the in­com­ing Mex­i­can gov­ern­ment that is re­ally com­mit­ted to see it hap­pen, which also co­in­cides with the po­si­tion held by Mex­i­can grass­roots or­ga­ni­za­tions.”

Af­ter the Au­gust 31, 2018 United States no­ti­fi­ca­tion of Congress of its in­ten­tion to sign an agree­ment with Mex­ico, with or with­out Canada, Sharon Treat, the Se­nior At­tor­ney for the In­sti­tute for Agri­cul­ture and Trade Pol­icy (IATP), stated: “A NAFTA deal with­out Cana­dian par­tic­i­pa­tion is not a com­pleted deal.”

With re­spect to Trump’s fre­quent tweets call­ing on the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment to dis­man­tle Canada’s suc­cess­ful dairy sup­ply man­age­ment pro­gram, Treat points out: “Rather than de­stroy the Cana­dian dairy in­dus­try, we should be learn­ing from their ex­am­ple and adopt­ing poli­cies that suc­cess­fully bal­ance sup­ply and de­mand and lift up our own farm­ers. That’s why fam­ily farm groups in the U.S. have spo­ken on the need to over­haul do­mes­tic dairy pol­icy….rather than at­tack­ing Canada’s pro­gram.”

None of the three NAFTA gov­ern­ments are shar­ing de­tails of the talks with the pub­lic.

“We call on the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment to pub­lish any agreed upon texts right away and that th­ese se­cre­tive talks be re­placed by an au­then­tic con­sul­ta­tive process in­volv­ing leg­is­la­tors and civil so­ci­ety,” said Rick Arnold, Chair of the Coun­cil of Cana­di­ans Northum­ber­land Chap­ter trade group. “Canada needs to stand up to the bul­ly­ing and in­sults com­ing from the Trump White House and en­sure a sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment end game that ad­dresses growing in­equal­i­ties that face most peo­ple in North Amer­ica”.

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