Are NAFTA negotiations at a turning point?
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amid speculation that negotiations have reached a turning point and may even collapse, the fifth round of secret talks on a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) conclude today in Mexico City.
According to reports, Donald Trump may be preparing to unilaterally withdraw the United States from NAFTA by executive action should Canada and Mexico not concede to U.S. demands. Should a new agreement be reached, it will be bad news for the environment, particularly in the context of agriculture and food policy.
A new analysis from Friends of the Earth on a new NAFTA’s implications for agriculture and food policy finds that the deal is likely to further encourage polluting industrial agriculture and methods of farming that employ environmentally-hazardous pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones and, genetically engineered seeds.
Bill Waren, senior trade analyst at Friends of the Earth, issued the following statement:
NAFTA needs to be substantially reformed in the next presidential administration to protect sustainable farming, to combat global warming, and to safeguard sensible environmental and public health regulations. Negotiating a new NAFTA that protects family farmers and our environment will never happen as long as Donald Trump is President.
Regardless of what happens with a new NAFTA negotiated by Trump, both family farmers and the environment would be badly damaged. If Trump gets his way in NAFTA talks, factory farms will multiply, increase their fossil fuel use and construct more liquefied manure treatment systems that emit vast amounts of greenhouse gasses, worsening climate disruption.
A new NAFTA negotiated by Trump will undercut current and future environmental safeguards related to food safety, chemicals, pesticides, and biotechnology. The health of farmworkers, farmers, and other vulnerable populations would further deteriorate.
If NAFTA talks collapse and Trump withdraws the U.S. from the agreement, Canada and especially Mexico might well raise tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and seek to mimic parts of Trump’s deregulatory agenda to maintain a comparative advantage in trade.
For more information, please see this Friends of the Earth publication: 7 ways Trump’s NAFTA threatens family farmers, animal welfare, our health and the environment.