A NAFTA Replacement that Responds to Voter Demands

Provided by MN Fair Trade Coalition: A key theme throughout the 2016 election season was voter anger about U.S. trade policy failing them, including status-quo-trade deals negotiated to favor corporate interests ahead of working families.  Simply reopening the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to renegotiation is not enough.  The public needs actual trade policies that prioritize the needs of working families, healthy communities and the environment over corporate profits — not a “modernized” NAFTA that inserts harmful language from the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). To create good-paying jobs, eliminate threats to our communities and otherwise benefit the majority at home and abroad, the U.S. must adopt the long-time demands of labor, environmental, family farm, consumer and faith organizations on what to include and not include in trade agreements.  Further detailed in a letter from Citizens Trade Campaign available at http://tinyurl.com/zumlsdj, essential changes include:

o   Making the NAFTA renegotiation process and any other trade negotiations transparent and participatory — the complete opposite of the opaque and corporate-dominated negotiations that produced NAFTA and the TPP. The public must be invited to help formulate U.S. positions and comment on draft U.S. proposals prior to negotiations. Negotiated texts also must be made publicly available, with opportunity for comment, after each negotiating round.

o   Eliminating the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system, which promotes job offshoring and gives transnational corporations rights to sue the U.S. government in a manner that circumvents our judicial system. 

o   Including strong, binding and enforceable labor and environmental standards to NAFTA’s core text and requiring the ongoing enforcement of labor and environmental rights as a prerequisite to the agreements’ completion.

o   Strengthening “rules of origin” and adding other measures to stop transshipment, so as to create jobs and reinforce the labor and environmental standards.

o   Requiring that all imported food, goods and serves meet domestic safety and environmental rules.

o   Overhauling rules that harm family farmers and feed a destructive agribusiness model.

o   Eliminating rules that waive “Buy American” and “Buy Local” public procurement policies.

o   Eliminating rules that drive up the cost of life-saving medicines by giving pharmaceutical companies extended monopolies on drug patents.

o   Adding strong, enforceable disciplines against currency manipulation.

o   Adding a broad protection for environmental, health, labor, farm and other public interest policies.