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Examining the Renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement

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**UPDATE: The successor to NAFTA — the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) — was adopted on 30 September 2018**

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. 

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    USMCA Versus NAFTA on the Environment

    USMCA Versus NAFTA on the Environment

    https://www.iisd.org/story/after-nafta/#text-82776The old NAFTA set the bar in linking trade and environment.  How does its successor compare? Read More
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    USMCA Curbs How Much Investors Can Sue Countries—Sort of

    USMCA Curbs How Much Investors Can Sue Countries—Sort of

    The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) put the famous investor–state dispute settlement mechanism on the map. Now its rebirth as the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) is taking it off again—at least between the United States and Canada. Read More
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    NAFTA Agriculture Clash Distracts From More Important Conversation: Sustainability

    NAFTA Agriculture Clash Distracts From More Important Conversation: Sustainability

    Following the NAFTA negotiations has been like riding a roller coaster, holding your breath because you don’t know what shock might be coming around Read More
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    Food for Thought: Weighing up health and investment in the age of the new pandemic

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    Obesity is increasing in developing countries and trade agreements could help monitor this. Read more to find out how. Read More
  • Commentary
    Environmental and Public Interest Considerations in NAFTA Renegotiation

    Environmental and Public Interest Considerations in NAFTA Renegotiation

    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. Read More
  • 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
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    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