From the Alliance for Responsible Trade, website, the US sister organization to Common Frontiers-Canada, the Quebec Network on Continental Integration and the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade.
NAFTA MUST BE RENEGOTIATED
A proposal from North American civil society networks
Politicians throughout North America (Canada, Mexico and the United States) are beginning to recognize what the majority of citizens already know – the North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA) promises have not been fulfilled and new policies are urgently needed. There is growing awareness that quality jobs have disappeared, only to be replaced by insecure and low remuneration employment, while income inequality has risen to almost unprecedented levels.
As a result of widespread public concern, various candidates for the Presidency of the United States recognize the necessity for major changes to NAFTA. Recently, several members of the House of Representatives have introduced a bill requiring an assessment of NAFTA, renegotiation of some provisions and providing for US withdrawal unless certain conditions are met.
The Permanent Commission of the Mexican Congress, as well as several State Governors, echoing the wide-spread demand of well-organized campesino organizations, is demanding a revision of NAFTA given the devastation it has caused for agriculture and its harmful effects on the rural population.
Similarly, a Canadian Parliamentary Sub-Committee on International Trade recommended that the Permanent Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade undertake a comprehensive review of NAFTA Chapter 11 on Investment and Chapter 19 on trade disputes.
We four civil society networks from Canada, Mexico, Quebec and the United States believe that it is absolutely necessary to profoundly revise NAFTA beginning with those aspects that have proven most damaging for the socio economic and human rights of our peoples and for the environment.
At the same time, we reject the deeper continental integration currently being negotiated under the aegis of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) by large multinational corporations and governments with no transparency or input from civil society. As such, the SPP is nothing less than the privatization of public policymaking. The citizens of North America have several ideas for bringing about real prosperity and security on this continent. Integration negotiated behind closed doors, however, will bring neither.
Any just trade agreement among our countries must consider the enormous economic inequalities that exist between Mexico, the United States and Canada as well as the growing inequality within each of our three countries. While even the World Trade Organization allows special and differential treatment for poorer countries, this is not the case with NAFTA.
The revision of the terms of this treaty must have as its objective the establishment of economic relations based on social justice and sovereignty within a paradigm of sustainable development. In this brief declaration we cannot mention all the necessary revisions. Here are ten priorities for the required renegotiation of NAFTA.
For further information: In the United States: Tom Loudon, Alliance for Responsible Trade, (301) 699-0042, email@example.com; In Canada: John Dillon, Common Frontiers-Canada, (416) 463-5312 ext. 231; firstname.lastname@example.org; In Quebec: Pierre-Yves Serinet/Normand Pépin, Quebec Network on Continental Integration (RQIC), (514) 276-1075/(514) 217-6529; email@example.comfirstname.lastname@example.org; In Mexico: Alejandro Villamar, (English)Mexican Action Network on Free Trade (RMALC), (52) (55) 5356-0599; email@example.com