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Environmental and Public Interest Considerations in NAFTA Renegotiation

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Environmental and Public Interest Considerations in NAFTA Renegotiation

As the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation process continues—now with an extended
timeline into 2018—speculation abounds as to what kind of progress has been made with respect to the environmental
rights and obligations that will be tied to the renewed regional trade framework.

In their official negotiating objectives, both Canada and the U.S. have signalled their desire to integrate environment-related provisions into the trade agreement itself rather than under an environmental side agreement. There remains much uncertainty regarding which aspects of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), if any, will be transposed into the revised NAFTA. On the question of indigenous rights, climate change and other trade and environment linkages, many prospective, transformative paths forward have already been proposed.

This commentary supports and contributes to propositions on how NAFTA parties should seek to modernize the agreement for the benefit of the North American public and ecosystems.