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Examining the Renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement

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NAFTA renegotiations are underway.

President Trump has called NAFTA both a disaster and the worst deal ever. Through speeches and Tweets, he promises to rip-up NAFTA, restructure it with other trade deals to impose taxes on all U.S. imports and tax breaks on U.S. exports, and isolate Mexico by imposing 20 per cent tariffs on all imports while tweaking those NAFTA rules affecting Canada–U.S. trade.

The prospect of widely varying rules, rights and obligations as to how the United States will treat Mexico or Canada jeopardizes the notion of NAFTA. The promised wall between the United States and Mexico ends a century of policies of both Republican and Democratic U.S. presidents based on the free flow of goods, services, ideals as well as shared environmental and conservation objectives. While a physical wall will disrupt the migratory patterns of many land-based species, tariff walls on goods and emerging walls on cross-border services threaten to unravel not only NAFTA, but a century of cooperation. 

As part of its work on international trade, IISD invited a number of experts from Mexico, Canada and the United States to share their perspectives on NAFTA. These comments are posted below and will be updated on an ongoing basis. 

  • Commentary
    Renegotiating NAFTA: Pros and cons for Canada and Mexico

    Renegotiating NAFTA: Pros and cons for Canada and Mexico

    As NAFTA renegotiations continue, it is useful to examine what might happen if NAFTA tariff preferences disappear. This paper uses an economic trade model to simulate the impacts of a 20 per cent tariff increase in North American industries such as energy, steel, cement and automobiles.   Read More
  • Commentary
    NAFTA Renegotiations Must Protect 20 Years of Progress on Labour and Environmental Protections in Trade Agreements and Address New Risks

    NAFTA Renegotiations Must Protect 20 Years of Progress on Labour and Environmental Protections in Trade Agreements and Address New Risks

    Sandra Polaski, an expert on labour and social policy issues at national and global levels gives us her take on the NAFTA negotiations in relation to labour, environment and trade agreements. Read More
  • Commentary
    Response to the United States Trade Representative’s Stated Objectives on NAFTA Negotiations: An environmental perspective

    Response to the United States Trade Representative’s Stated Objectives on NAFTA Negotiations: An environmental perspective

    On July 17, 2017, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published its Summary of Objectives for the NAFTA renegotiation. Taking a sustainable development perspective, this response examines the USTR objectives and how they directly or indirectly relate to sustainable growth through international trade and investment. Read More
  • Commentary
    NAFTA’s Environmental Record: History, outcomes, impacts and options

    NAFTA’s Environmental Record: History, outcomes, impacts and options

    IISD has asked various experts from across Canada, the United States and Mexico to give their perspectives on NAFTA and the pending negotiations. This commentary, written by IISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan, is the introductary piece in this series. Read More
  • Commentary
    Renegotiation of NAFTA: An opportunity for sustainable development / La renegociación del TLCAN: una oportunidad para el desarrollo sostenible

    Renegotiation of NAFTA: An opportunity for sustainable development / La renegociación del TLCAN: una oportunidad para el desarrollo sostenible

    Isabel Studer, Executive Director for Mexico and Northern Central America, The Nature Conservancy gives us her take (in Spanish and English) on the NAFTA negotiations and their impact on sustainable development. Read More
  • Commentary
    NAFTA Renegotiations Offer Chance to Fix its Mistakes on Trade and the Environment

    NAFTA Renegotiations Offer Chance to Fix its Mistakes on Trade and the Environment

    Geoff Garver, adjunct professor in interdisicplinary studies on environment and sustainability at McGill University and Concordia University, gives us his view on the need to fix the environmental provisions in NAFTA.  Read More