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Public consultations on NAFTA must be held before June 15

It would appear that the Trudeau government wants to see elements of the twelve-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

A Bloomberg interview with Canada’s ambassador to the US David MacNaughton suggests the Trudeau government is:

1– seeking to streamline or to “move along quicker” dispute resolution procedures whether through NAFTA or the World Trade Organization
2– seeking unspecified improvements that had been included in the TPP
3– opposed to Buy-American provisions and a proposal for a tax on imports
4– seeking provisions on the pre-clearance of cargo
5– interested in establishing government powers in labour standards.

The Trudeau government also wants the NAFTA negotiations to begin sooner.

It is believed that US President Donald Trump will formally indicate to Congress ‘sometime around March 15th’ that his administration intends to renegotiate the deal. Given that mid-March notification would begin a 90-day review period, formal negotiations are expected to begin June 15.

MacNaughton says, “People are sitting on their wallets and they’re not investing as much as they would if there was more certainty.”

The Council of Canadians is calling on the Trudeau government to commit to:

1– transparency through the entirety of the negotiations – especially in regards to what Trudeau is conceding to Trump to maintain NAFTA
2– meaningful consultations with the general public, as well as consultations and consent from First Nations
3– removal of the controversial Chapter 11 investor-state provision
4– removal of all references to water in NAFTA as a good, service or investment, unless to allow for the specific protection or exclusion of water
5– an exemption from NAFTA’s energy proportionality rule in order to meet our Paris climate commitments
6– a North American Auto Pact to ensure that each country receives a proportional share of employment and investment, and that workers have good jobs and fair wages
7– strengthening the exemption of medicare in NAFTA to allow for an expansion of public health care in areas including pharmacare
8– protection of farmers and local control over farm and food polices
9– the right to use procurement to create jobs and local economic projects
10– clear rules assessing that trade serves communities and people, not the other way around.

To make these demands of the Trudeau government — notably that there be public consultations prior to the beginning of the talks on June 15 — please go to our online action alert here.