As First NAFTA Round Opens In Secrecy, Digital Rights Groups Fear Another TPP

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By Jeremy Malcolm for EFF – The opening round of a series of negotiations over a proposed revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) began this week in Washington, D.C. between trade representatives from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Already it is clear that the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has ignored our specific recommendations (to say nothing of USTR Robert Lighthizer’s personal promises) about making the negotiations more open and transparent. Once again, following the failed model of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the USTR will be keeping the negotiating texts secret, and in an actual regression from the TPP will be holding no public stakeholder events alongside the first round. This may or may not set a precedent for future rounds, that will rotate between the three countries every few weeks thereafter, with a scheduled end date of mid-2018. Although EFF has been keeping an open mind about the agreement until we have a better idea of what it will contain, the secrecy of its first negotiation round augurs poorly for what is to come. Already, the usual copyright lobbyists have descended upon the negotiations, sending a letter to the USTR this week which directly opposes the inclusion of a “fair use” copyright exception in the agreement, as EFF had suggested.

Thousands Of Mexicans March To Scrap NAFTA, As Government Fights To Save It

Union workers and farmers protest as NAFTA renegotiation begins in Washington, D.C., in Mexico City, Mexico August 16, 2017. The placards read " FTA hurts, Mexico better without FTA". Carlos Jasso

By Daina Beth Solomon for Reuters – MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – While Mexican government negotiators fought tooth and nail to save the North American Free Trade Agreement during talks in Washington, thousands of Mexican farmers and workers took to the streets on Wednesday demanding the deal be scrapped. Carrying banners that read “No to the FTA,” and decorated with images of the distinctive hairstyles of U.S. President Donald Trump and Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto, the protesters said the 1994 deal had devastated Mexican farms. “We are against the treaty and the renegotiation because it has not benefited the country,” said university union spokesman Carlos Galindo, reflecting views widely held in the early years of the trade pact. In a sign of that mistrust, on Jan. 1 1994 the Zapatista guerrilla army launched an armed uprising opposing free trade to mark the first day of NAFTA. The fervor has faded and most Mexicans, including leading leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who will run for president next year, now broadly support a deal which has led to job growth, especially in the auto manufacturing sector.

10 Ways That Trump’s New NAFTA Threatens People And The Planet

Trump meets with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, in July 2017. Trump is pushing to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement among their countries and Canada. Photo via NPR.

By William Waren for Friends of the Earth – During his campaign for president, Donald Trump demonized the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), calling it “the worst trade deal” and making false assurances that he would rework NAFTA, and other trade deals, to protect the American people. As the process to renegotiate NAFTA begins, Trump’s rhetoric and actions strongly suggest that he plans to step up his war on the planet. Trump’s NAFTA “re-do” is highly likely to reflect many elements of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and specifically, the portions of the TPP that would undercut environmental regulations. The Administration’s statement on July 17 of its NAFTA negotiating objectives reinforces concerns that Trump plans to use a new NAFTA to hamstring effective environmental regulation across the board and accelerate global warming. When we compare the evils of Trump’s new trade deal against reality of our current economy, the American people should be extremely concerned about the future of our environment. As trade renegotiations begin in Washington, D.C., on August 16, we compiled a list of ten ways this process endangers our environment.

Thousands Of Mexicans Hold Protest Against NAFTA

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By Staff of Bilaterals – Mexican farmers and workers have staged a mass rally in the capital to voice their opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement, commonly known as NAFTA, with the United States and Canada. The protesters, who numbered up to 10,000 people, took to the streets in Mexico City on Monday, saying the trilateral trade deal was ruining Mexican farmers’ and workers’ livelihoods. The protesters said that they wanted the government to leave the agriculture sector out of the new NAFTA free trade agreement, accusing Mexico City of failing to support the peasant farmers. President Enrique Peña Nieto, the protesters said, has broken the promises he had made to the farmers and workers in regard to land and labor reforms The protest comes as NAFTA re-negotiations are scheduled to take place from August 16 to 20 in Washington. Reports suggest around two million Mexican farmers have lost their land under the current NAFTA conditions. US-imported products make up nearly half of all of the food consumed in Mexico. During his election campaign, US President Donald Trump vowed to either renegotiate or scrap the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump described NAFTA as the worst trade deal the US had ever signed. He blamed the three-nation deal for the outsourcing of thousands of American jobs to Mexico and China.

#NoNAFTA2 Twitter Storm on Wed. Aug 16th at 8pm EDT !

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By Trade for People and Planet – Join us for a Twitter Storm against the beginning of the corporate NAFTA re-negotiations on Wednesday, August 16th from 8-9pm EDT! As the corporate representatives in government begin to divide up the continent for their friends, the people will be here to make sure they know we won’t take another deal that harms people and the environment. We are ready to build a new trade model, a model of Trade for People and the Planet.

Newsletter: When Empires Fall

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. The Pentagon recently released a report, “At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk Assessment in a Post-Primacy World,” which details its concerns about losing access to resources and “resistance to authority” both at home and around the world as governments lose legitimacy. Faced with these changes, the United States could embrace them, become a cooperative member of the world, transition to a lower-waste lower-energy sustainable existence and draw back the military to use those resources to meet domestic needs. Sadly, that is not what the Pentagon has in mind. There is a saying, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The US is the biggest empire in the world; therefore, the Pentagon’s solutions are “more surveillance, more propaganda (‘strategic manipulation of perceptions’) and more military expansionism.” The United States’ reign as an Empire is coming to an end. It is up to those of us living in the US to take action to prevent more aggression and demand that the US dismantle its empire in a way that causes the least harm at home and abroad.

Letter to the Editor Campaign: NAFTA IS NOT FOR US

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The Trump administration’s NAFTA negotiation objectives show more clearly than ever that this agreement will not be made for us or by us. The thousands of comments submitted by the trade justice movement have been ignored as the objectives resemble the language and sentiment of the original NAFTA and defeated TPP goals. We cannot let corporations and their political representatives decide our fate. Our communities need to know that this NAFTA IS NOT FOR US. Join our letter to the editor campaign, our resistance to NAFTA must go viral!

NAFTA Renegotiation Objectives Indicate Possible Stealth Attack On Public Health, Food, Agriculture

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By Audrey Fox for Friends of the Earth – WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer released the Trump Administration’s objectives for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Trade promotion authority legislation requires the President to provide “a detailed summary” of the objectives of trade negotiations 30 days before negotiations begin. Friends of the Earth Senior Trade Analyst Bill Waren issued the following response: Donald Trump demonized NAFTA and the TPP during his presidential campaign and made assurances he would rework trade deals to protect the American people. Now, it appears that Trump has modified his message. Since taking office, Trump has shown repeatedly that he plans to “re-do” NAFTA to benefit corporations. Trump’s statement indicates he plans to step up his war on public health and the planet by modeling NAFTA’s provisions related to environmental regulation on the TPP. These objectives appear to set the stage for a stealth attack on strong regulation of food, agriculture, chemicals, and biotechnology.

Stop Trump From Making NAFTA Even Worse

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By Ethan Earle for In These Times – Many on the Left have been deeply critical of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) since before it was fast-tracked into law by former President Bill Clinton in 1994. Now, President Donald Trump’s current plan to renegotiate NAFTA is poised to make the massive trade deal even worse. In late May, a loose coalition of civil society groups gathered in Mexico City to discuss this upcoming renegotiation. Participants included the AFL-CIO, Canadian Labour Congress and over one hundred other labor, environmental, and immigrant rights organizations from across Mexico, the United States and Canada. The meeting produced a joint declaration opposing a Trump-led NAFTA renegotiation and marked the kickoff of the latest international campaign against free-trade deals that benefit corporations and political elites at the expense of workers, communities and our shared environment. NAFTA’s legacy is marred by lost jobs, lower wages, increased inequality and a litany of environmentally destructive practices. While the people who gathered in Mexico City have long opposed NAFTA for its pro-corporate bent, a consensus emerged that President Trump and his team are cooking up something even worse. Two questions follow from this judgment: What can we do to stop Trump, and how can we use the moment to challenge the powerful interests that he represents?

Tell The USTR We Want Trade For People And Planet

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By Trade for People and Planet. Please take a few moments to submit your comments to the Office of the US Trade Representative now. The clock is ticking on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The window for public comments closes Monday, June 12 at 5 pm Eastern. The Trump administration is going against its campaign promises by pushing for a new NAFTA that includes some of the provisions we fought to stop in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We must make it clear that people will not tolerate the current failed model of trade that exploits people and the planet. Trade can be organized in a way that improves working conditions, raises wages, protects the planet and makes voluntary agreements like the Paris Climate Treaty enforceable.

Making NAFTA Worse

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By Jim Hightower for Other Words – Trump promised to negotiate the widely loathed trade deal, which would be great — except he’s giving corporations even more power to offshore jobs. Like rose blossoms, a politician’s promises can be beautiful when they burst into full, glorious bloom — only to fade over time and, petal by petal, fall away. Take Donald Trump’s glorious pledge last year to renegotiate the NAFTA trade deal and provide a “much better” deal for working families who lost manufacturing jobs as a result of it. Beautiful! This particular blossom is what convinced many hard-hit former factory workers to vote Trump into the White House. But the bloom is now off Trump’s rosy promise, and it looks like working families will get nothing but thorns from him. A recently leaked copy of Trump’s NAFTA plan reveals that, far from scrapping the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal, White House negotiators are goosing it up with even more power for multinational corporations. In particular, it includes new “investor incentives” to offshore thousands more of our middle-class jobs. Where did this come from? Right out of last year’s discredited and defeated Trans-Pacific Partnership, a scam intended to enthrone corporate supremacy over our own laws.

Trump’s NAFTA “Re-Do” Threatens People And The Planet

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By Audrey Fox for Friends of the Earth – WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Trump Administration submitted notice to Congress today that it intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, according to reports. Bill Waren, Friends of the Earth’s senior trade analyst, issued the following response: Donald Trump built his campaign by demonizing the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he called “the worst deal ever,” and by making assurances that he could rework trade deals to protect the American people. Now he plans to give another hand out to corporations through renegotiating NAFTA. Trump’s leaked NAFTA renegotiation plan describes just what the corporate lobby is demanding: using NAFTA talks to revive large parts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership making NAFTA even worse for people and the planet. Any trade agreement that the U.S. enters must protect public health and our environment. Trump’s NAFTA “re-do,” like the TPP, will encourage corporations to pollute our air and water, poison our food and accelerate climate change.

Trade in the Digital Era, We Demand Popular Participation

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Daniel Cooper Bermudez for Popular Resistance – Digital rights are under threat in the United States and abroad as corporations and governments work together to infringe upon people’s privacy and limit essential civil and political rights such as freedom and equality in access to information. From the FCC’s dismantling of Net Neutrality to the inclusion of digital trade provisions in TPP that industry leaders want in NAFTA, the movement has been ready to fight back and has counter-proposals to guarantee that the internet remains free and open, a center for the global organizing required to foster a world fighting back climate change and human rights violations.

NAFTA Needs To Be Replaced, Not Renegotiated

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By John E. Peck and Jim Goodman for Family Farm Defenders – The North American Free Trade Agreement must be replaced with a transparent trade agreement that ensures: farmers in all three nations receive fair prices for their production, consumers are guaranteed the right to know the content and origin of their food and strong environmental protections are put in place to protect the sustainability of rural communities. While the current structure of NAFTA has increased trade between Canada, Mexico and the United States, farm profit margins did not increase. Multi-national grain traders made huge profits dumping subsidized US corn on Mexico, crushing much of Mexico’s farm economy to the point that Mexican Catholic Bishops said that NAFTA was leading to the “cultural death” of their nation. Trade agreements should promote fair trade that that supports farmers of all countries involved, not just the financial interests of multi-national agribusiness corporations. To give just one recent example of how rural communities suffer from reckless trade policies, on April 1stGrassland Dairy Products, the nation’s largest butter maker, informed 75 Wisconsin dairy farmers that their milk would no longer be needed by May since Canadian buyers had cancelled contracts to import one million pounds of milk per day.

Corporate Siege and Trade in the 2018 Elections

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Trade policy is amounting to be an increasinly contentious topic as the Trump administration has clearly showed its intentions to keep major TPP provisions in NAFTA. Corporations are working with the Department of Commerce to eliminate the few but significant labor and environmental protections the government enforces while members of Congress begin to campaign around trade. 2018 promises to put trade policy at the forefront as presidential elections in Mexico and mid-terms in the United States could determine the fate of North American trade agreements to come.