Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

NAFTA re-negotiation works both ways, er, three ways

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Originally published on on Wed, 02/27/2008 – 12:19pm.

It takes two to tango, but three to re-negotiate NAFTA.

It was great hearing that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama want to re-negotiate NAFTA. Clearly, a number of people haven’t liked what NAFTA has done and how it has affected certain elements of the economy. And some of those affected actually live in the United States.

What wasn’t said last night in the debate is that there are Canadians and Mexicans who would love to re-negotiate NAFTA for their own reasons. And if the U.S. wants to re-negotiate to help itself, so does Canada and Mexico.

As today’s Globe and Mail (Canada’s primary national newspaper) points out, re-negotiation also would “open the door to an improved dispute- resolution mechanism, something Canada has long advocated.”

Canada has also been concerned about the amount of foreign investment in its companies, especially its media.

I confess to not knowing as much about Mexico’s issues with NAFTA (I’m somewhat of a Canada-ophile), but the idea that the U.S. is forcing Mexico to take its corn and high-fructose corn syrup would upset me if I lived in Mexico.

The debate focused on whether Hillary Clinton supported NAFTA as part of the Clinton Administration. However, though NAFTA is thought of as a Bill Clinton project, the agreement was initially pursued by Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (Conservative Party), U.S. President George H. W. Bush (Republican), and the Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari (long-time ruling PRI). While Clinton did not alter the original agreement, he did put forward the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation and the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation.

NAFTA has definitely been a boon to companies in all three countries, but it has been highly questionable whether it has been good for consumers and those who, well, like having jobs.

But Clinton and Obama (and John McCain if he comes around) should know that opening up NAFTA won’t apply just to U.S. interests. Be prepared to reopen the agreement on a number of issues. But you will find that Canada and Mexico can be eager to comply if their demands are met as well.


Written by democracysoup

February 27, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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