Ottawa Round of Secret NAFTA Negotiations Threatens Climate Regulation
September 27, 2017 (Ottawa) – The third round of secret negotiations on a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) draws to a close on Wednesday, September 27. As the negotiations move forward, the talks continue to threaten the capacity of Canada, Mexico, and the United States to issue and implement effective regulations to address global warming and environmental hazards generally.
Beatrice Olivastri, Chief Executive Officer of Friends of the Earth, Canada, issued this statement:
Prime Minister Trudeau seeks to preserve a “reformed” but still environmentally dangerous investment chapter in NAFTA. Canada has faced 38 NAFTA Chapter 11 Investor-State Dispute Settlement cases – from an early challenge to Canada’s right to regulate environmentally harmful additives to gasoline through to a current challenge by a U.S. affiliate of Lone Star, a Canadian fossil fuel company suing Canada for $250 million because Quebec imposed a moratorium on fracking under the St. Lawrence River.
Trudeau is also seeking a new “regulatory reform” chapter in NAFTA, which would hobble climate and other environmental regulations. This would encourage the fossil fuel industry to continue to file NAFTA investment suits for billions of dollars if climate regulations interfere with their expected future profits. These investor-state provisions must be removed.
Michelle Chan, Vice-President of Friends of the Earth, U.S. issued the following statement in response:
The new NAFTA that is taking shape will strip away environmental and climate protections. The secrecy of NAFTA negotiations has blinded citizens of all three countries to Trump’s effort to write a new trade deal that empowers global corporations to extract, export and burn fossil fuels.
A new NAFTA must include a new environment chapter that obligates the three countries to do their fair share to combat climate change and pay for the impacts that are already being felt. A new environment chapter must be fully enforceable under penalty of tough retaliatory trade sanctions. A new deal must also strip out the current deal’s “energy proportionality rule,” which requires Canada to export a set percentage of its energy production, including tar sands oil.
Together, Friends of the Earth Canada and Friends of the Earth U.S. demand that Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau and Enrique Peña Nieto change course. Instead of protecting corporate profits, a new NAFTA should shield public interest policies by requiring each participating country to adopt, maintain and implement policies to ensure compliance with domestic environmental laws and key international environmental and labour agreements.
For further information
Friends of the Earth Canada, Senior Policy Advisor John Bennett, (613) 291-6888, firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends of the Earth US, Expert contact Bill Waren, (202) 222-0746, email@example.com
Friends of the Earth Canada (www.foecanada.org) is the Canadian member of Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental network campaigning on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues.
For more information, please see Friends of the Earth US’s blog on how Trump’s new NAFTA threatens people and the planet and the joint statement of Friends of the Earth Mexico and Friends of the Earth, U.S. on NAFTA renegotiation