NAFTA: Ottawa to alter ISDS?

NAFTA: Ottawa to alter ISDS?

Postby Oscar » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:45 am

Ottawa willing to alter NAFTA investor-state dispute process

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By STEVEN CHASE August 14, 2017 Globe and Mail Update

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland repeats that Canadians support the deal and that Canada is prepared to walk away from the negotiating table if the U.S. is unwilling to reach fair compromises


The U.S. has already said it wants to eliminate binding dispute settlement mechanisms in NAFTA's Chapter 19 that allow companies to challenge measures taken by the U.S. or other NAFTA member governments. Canada has been on record for months as opposed to removing Chapter 19 but Ms. Freeland's negotiating objective could weaken the power of businesses to challenge measures taken by the U.S. government as long as American officials label their actions "in the public interest."

The foreign affairs minister repeated Canada's longstanding message on NAFTA: that Canadians by and large support the deal and that Canada will stand up for its interests and is prepared to walk away from the negotiating table if the U.S. is unwilling to reach fair compromises.

She recalled the Canada-U.S. free trade negotiations of 1987 where such an incident took place. "It was during the initial FTA negotiations .... That the late, great Simon Reisman walked out, pulled home by his prime minister over the Reagan administration's initial refusal to agree to binding binational review of anti-dumping and countervailing duties. Our government will be equally resolute," she said.

Ms. Freeland said Canada also wants to enhance environmental provisions in NAFTA to ensure no member country weakens environmental protection to attract new investment – and that the deal "fully supports efforts to address climate change."

Thirdly, she said Canada wants to strip away any barriers that prevent American and Mexican companies for bidding on government purchasing contracts in Canada, or Canadian firms seeking access to the same markets in the United State or Mexico.

"Canada will seek a freer market for government procurement ... location content provisions for major government contracts are political junk food, superficially appetizing but unhealthy in the long run," she said.

This negotiating objective of Canada's appears to be designed to help fight "Buy American" calls in the U.S. for American politicians to restrict Canadian and Mexican firms from bidding on U.S. government supply contracts.

Other NAFTA objectives include:

-Stronger labour safeguards.
-Adding a chapter on gender rights –Adding an "indigenous chapter."
-Make it easier for certified professions to work in all three NAFTA countries and expand the free movement of businesspeople.
-Preserve NAFTA provisions that protect Canadian culture –Preserve the high tariff walls in this country's "supply management" system that shelter Canadian dairy and poultry products from significant foreign competition.


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