The negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have commenced, with an extravagant dinner for cabinet members of all three nations followed by a seven round match. The U.S. is the first to host the three nations in Washington D.C.
In Canada’s corner, negotiator Steve Verheul will be delegating the policies put forth by the Canadian Government, ensuring Canada remains as the true north strong and free. The initial session in Washington will look at confirming the topics for discussion and affirming administrative mechanisms such as how the new NAFTA deal will be written.
Officials are stating this is the first time an already established agreement has been renegotiated by the U.S. At the opening press conference on August 16th, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called these renegotiations a “historic project.”
By deciding to renegotiate, U.S. President Donald Trump has opened doors for all three nations to propose new terms to the trade agreement. In an overview, Canada is looking to implement five new chapters to NAFTA. Here are the changes Freeland is planning to have implemented in the agreement:
All three nations would like to see a change in the labour standards for NAFTA. The President of the Canadian Labour Congress says the current agreement has not allowed for raised labour standards and wages equally throughout all nations.
Since Trump has declared climate change “a hoax” and environmental talks as not important, Canada is looking to allow free talk of environmental factors among the three nations. This chapter in NAFTA will allow the right to address climate change and strengthen environmental provisions.
When it comes to the import and export sector, it is not always seen as a business emphasizing equality. This new chapter would encourage female entrepreneurs into the field by viewing trade from a gender perspective.
Canada is also looking at reforming the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) process to protect governments’ right to regulate “in the public interest.” Freeland will focus on companies suing the government.
By including this chapter, it will allow for regulations that protect and include indigenous people.
Aside from these five chapters, there is much more Canada is anticipating to have implemented in the new agreement. These include fewer Buy America Rules, free movement of professionals, and talks on the agricultural, auto and pharmaceutical sectors.
NAFTA talks are expected to continue until the end of 2017 in hopes that a new agreement will be established before Mexico’s election campaign in 2018. The second NAFTA meeting will be held in Mexico in September.
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