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

Articles

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  • 28-Apr-2015 Elgolfo.info México: TLC y ASPAN incrementaron pobreza y violencia
    Sergio González dijo que la violencia desmedida que se vive en México es producto de dos fenómenos: las firmas del Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLC) con Estados Unidos (EU) y Canadá, y de la Alianza para la Seguridad y la Prosperidad de América del Norte (ASPAN).
  • 20-Apr-2015 GRAIN Le libre-échange et l’épidémie de malbouffe au Mexique
    Les sociétés alimentaires inondent et s’emparent des canaux traditionnels de distribution et remplacent les aliments locaux avec des aliments transformés, grâce aux accords de libre-échange et d’investissement.
  • 16-Apr-2015 La Jornada El gordo problema de la gordura
    Yo siempre he sostenido que el grave problema de la obesidad se lo debemos al Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLC), que entró en vigor en 1994. A partir de entonces ingresaron al país una enorme cantidad de franquicias de alimentos chatarra.
  • 15-Apr-2015 El Ciudadano El Tratado de Libre Comercio que destruyó México
    En todos estos 20 años de existencia del TLCAN la prensa globalizada no cansaba de hablar año tras año de las ventajas económicas que tendría México a mediano y largo plazo. Sin embargo, mientras el tiempo avanzaba, el país se empobrecía cada vez más, lo que se reflejaba en el incremento de la violencia y del crimen organizado
  • 10-Apr-2015 GRAIN Free trade and Mexico’s junk food epidemic
    Food companies are infiltrating, inundating and taking over traditional food distribution channels and replacing local foods with cheap, processed junk foods. Free trade and investment agreements have been critical to their success.
  • 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
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