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NAFTA Redux Looks a Lot Like TPP: Family Farm Groups in All 3 Countries Slam Secret Trade Talks

On Sunday, officials from the United States, Mexico and Canada wrapped up the first round of talks regarding the “modernization” of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—the economic treaty inked in 1994 that, depending on who you ask, either “lays the foundation for economic growth and prosperity for all North Americans” or has, in fact, exploited workers in all three countries, suppressed wages and outsourced environmental destruction.

President Trump, a vocal critic of NAFTA economics on the campaign trail, made no mention of the talks last week, but the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)—an alliance that “works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems”—did. 

IATP criticized government officials' refusal to allow input from the actual farmers any new deal will affect and maintained that the direction of the talks continues to favor multinational corporations instead of working people—not unlike the supposedly "dead" Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). 

In an Aug. 16 press release, the Minneapolis-based group released the following statement:

As the formal talks to renegotiate NAFTA begin in Washington, D.C., this week, family farm organizations from Canada, the United States and Mexico denounce the direction of the talks. Despite repeated demands by civil society organizations in all three countries, the governments have refused to open the talks to the public or to publish proposed negotiating texts. All signs point to negotiations designed to increase agribusiness exports and corporate control over the food system rather than to support fair and sustainable trade and farming systems.

The Trump administration has stated its clear intention to continue its trend of putting multinational corporations’ narrow interests first by using the same blueprint that shaped the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). A review of submissions on the talks includes proposals to dismantle Canada’s successful dairy supply management program and eliminate restrictions on trade in GMOs and other agricultural biotechnology.

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