(WINDSOR, ON) – Later this week, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Chrystia Freeland, plans to participate in private North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiation meetings in Mexico City, starting on Friday. At the same time, representatives from a wide spectrum of non-governmental organizations will be holding their own trade discussions in the Mexican capital.
Participants will represent labour unions, including Unifor, Indigenous groups, farmers, migrant workers, environmentalists, women’s organizations, international solidarity groups, student movements, and human rights organizations from Canada, the United States, and host country Mexico.
The meetings will be held at the historic Antiguo Palacio de Escuela de Medicina in Mexico City.
“Since the implementation of NAFTA, we have witnessed an unprecedented increase in profits, and economic inequality in Canada. It’s time for alternatives to the current neoliberal free trade model,” said Raul Burbano, program director of Common Frontiers.
His comments were somewhat mirrored by Nadia Ibrahim of the Trade Justice Network.
TJN holds the view that the, “… economic, social and environmental impacts of NAFTA have been devastating to people in all three countries, including an increase in poverty and inequality, the weakening of labour rights while corporate rights have been strengthened, and the erosion of environmental protections.”
Ronald Cameron, Réseau québécois sur l’intégration continentale, wants the renegotiation process to be, “… transparent and participatory and any NAFTA replacement must ensure respect for human rights, improve peoples’ lives and livelihoods, and protect the environment in all three countries.”