NAFTA

NAFTA — the North American Free Trade Agreement — is a comprehensive, groundbreaking free trade and investment agreement which took effect on 1 January 1994, involving the governments of Canada, Mexico and the USA.

It is an expansion of the 1989 Canada-US Trade Agreement (CUSTA) and is seen as a landmark in setting higher standards in a range of areas, including agriculture, investment, intellectual property, and services.

NAFTA, dubbed a “death sentence” for Mexico’s campesinos and Indigenous Peoples, has led to strong and sustained resistance from a broad spectrum of Mexico’s population. It was one of the catalysts for the Zapatista uprising. Since it came into effect, cheap, subsidized US corn has flooded the market, sold at prices below the cost of production, with which campesinos cannot compete. This has led to massive displacement, poverty, and hunger.

NAFTA disputes - in which an investor from one signatory country can sue the government of another signatory country for actions or omissions which it claims to interfere with its right to make a profit - have raised concerns about the way in which the agreement furthers the interests of transnational corporations, and limits the capacity of governments to regulate the economy for social, environmental or other reasons.

On 1 January 2008, the last agricultural tariffs were eliminated under NAFTA and small farm organizations in Mexico declared “all-out war” on the trade agreement, arguing that the country’s food sovereignty and security are in peril. Massive peasant demonstrations against NAFTA were held throughout Mexico in early 2008.

NAFTA was a key focus of the US 2008 presidential campaign debates, with Barack Obama calling for its renegotiation. However, the call has not been acted upon under his administration.

last update: May 2012

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  • 26-Mar-2015 Criterio NAFTA increased mass migration to the United States
    After Mexico, the United States and Canada signed the FTA, in the agricultural sector alone five million workers lost their jobs in Mexico and they were forced to migrate.
  • 2-Mar-2015 GRAIN Libre comercio y la epidemia de comida chatarra en México
    Hace varios años que las compañías transnacionales de alimentos entendieron que los mercados primordiales para su crecimiento están en el Sur global. Los acuerdos de libre comercio e inversión son un factor crucial en este proceso de acaparamiento, sustitución y mayores ganancias. El caso de México nos arroja un retrato crudo y oscuro de las consecuencias que esto entraña.
  • 10-Feb-2015 GRAIN México: Reformas estructurales, libre comercio y guerra a la subsistencia
    El Tribunal Permanente de los Pueblos (TPP) sesionó en México durante tres años y escuchó una avalancha de agravios que la población reporta sufrir en infinidad de asuntos relacionados. Uno de ellos es el impacto que tienen las reformas estructurales y los tratados de libre comercio sobre la vida y la agricultura campesina, la custodia de las semillas nativas, la defensa territorial, la soberanía alimentaria y la autonomía de los pueblos.
  • 28-Jan-2015 Straight.com California wine producers claim B.C. liquor reforms violate NAFTA, GATT, and EU-Canada Agreement
    The association representing California wine producers has called on Premier Christy Clark to revoke or modify plans to favour the sale of B.C. wines in grocery stores claiming that "they violate Canada’s international trade obligations including NAFTA, GATT and the EU-Agreement on wine sales".
  • 14-Jan-2015 Toronto Star Canada being sued for billions under NAFTA investor protections
    Study charts foreign corporations’ growing use of NAFTA’s investor protections to sue governments over environmental and economic regulations
  • 12-Jan-2015 CBC News NAFTA scrutiny of oilsands tailings ponds opposed by Canada
    Canada is trying to stop NAFTA’s environmental watchdog from taking a closer look at the environmental effects of the huge tailings ponds produced by Alberta’s oilsands, and it appears Mexico and the US will go along with efforts to stop a formal investigation.
  • 2-Jan-2015 La Gran Época México pierde 5 millones de productores agrícolas: culpan al TLC y Reforma Energética
    El estudio de Desarrollo Rural Sustentable confirmó que alrededor de 600 campesinos abandonan el sector agropecuario cada día.
  • 29-Dec-2014 La Jornada Aguascalientes México: La Crisis en el Campo / El Canto del Zenzontle
    Si bien la crisis del campo en nuestro país es estructural, buena parte de los agravantes del conflicto que actualmente presenciamos son relacionados con la apertura comercial derivada del TLC.
  • 24-Dec-2014 Reuters Sugar buyers’ slam NAFTA sugar pact, shift focus to Australia, Canada
    A new US-Mexican government pact will limit supplies of sugar from Mexico via NAFTA and drive US manufacturers to seek supplies from Australia and Canada through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to the Sweetener Users Association (SUA), which represents candy makers like the Hershey and Mars.
  • 23-Dec-2014 El Diario México: El campo está desmantelado. El TLC desbarató a las comunidades rurales
    El campo está desmantelado, esa es la realidad que se vive, al igual que todo el país, a tal grado que ahora hay que comprar alimentos al extranjero, porque los campesinos emigran a la ciudad. El TLC desbarató al ejido, comentó el obispo fray Raúl Vera López.
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