NAFTA's name change shows Canada's weakness

August 27, 2018
Media Release

Ottawa – ­U.S. President Donald Trump has announced that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will be now called the “U.S.–Mexico Trade Agreement” after shutting Canada out of negotiations for weeks. The Council of Canadians is concerned that this is a sign of an America-first, corporate-friendly deal to come.  Changing the name to the United States-Mexico Trade Agreement will not change that.

“Changing the name will not change NAFTA’s destructive footprint.  It will even make it worse. By changing the name, Trump is threatening to push Canada out of the agreement, or making it a junior partner to the U.S. and Mexico. Our government must not give in to these tactics and hold the line on our public interest,” says Maude Barlow, Honorary Chair of the Council of Canadians. “When NAFTA was signed 30 years ago, we worried that Canada would be at the mercy of the U.S, and we were right.  Now, Canada is going to have its auto workers and farmers pitted against each other.”

Council of Canadians Trade Campaigner Sujata Dey says that it looks like U.S. pressure has already worked on Mexico. “From media reports, Mexico has caved into allowing NAFTA 2.0 to lock in the privatization of its energy industry. It also has agreed to Chapter 11 investor-state dispute settlement which would also prevent Mexico from bringing its energy industry back into public control,” she said. “This does not bode well for a fair deal.  Will Canada will be pushed to make similar concessions on energy and on supply management.”

The Council of Canadians has spoken out about NAFTA’s impacts on workers, the environment and public interest since the deal was signed. Recently, the Council of Canadians has published a several reports on NAFTA: Getting it Right: A people’s guide to NAFTA, NAFTA 2.0: For People Or Polluters? (with the Sierra Club U.S and Greenpeace Mexico) and Escaping Mandatory Oil Exports.

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For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact Sujata Dey at sdey@canadians.org or 613-796-7724.

Established in 1985, the Council of Canadians is Canada’s largest citizen advocacy group with 100,000 supporters and a network of more than 60 volunteer chapters across the country. The Council of Canadians connects people coast-to-coast-to-coast who are committed to holding governments and industry accountable to social justice and the public interest. We believe a better Canada and fairer world are possible. Together, we turn that belief into action.

NAFTA: People and the Planet before Profits