The news cycle this week has been filled with stories on whether Trump has the intentions of terminating NAFTA or not. While there has been ample discussion of the veracity of such speculation, what we find most concerning is the lack of transparency in how the negotiations are going and who has a say in them.

Initially, anonymous Canadian government officials said they believed Trump was going to terminate the deal. Prime Minister Trudeau later clarified that the Canadian government believes Trump’s threat to be a negotiating tactic and is preparing for a lengthy negotiation. Certain reports have claimed that Trump has been swayed against a termination by the pro-NAFTA lobby, specially in farming-heavy states.

Trump has also officially declared his intention to delay NAFTA negotiations until after the Mexican presidential elections on July 1st, while at the same time declaring he would use the money recuperated from reduced trade decifits with Mexico through NAFTA to build the border wall. Trump insisted on this in a tweet this morning:

….The Wall will be paid for, directly or indirectly, or through longer term reimbursement, by Mexico, which has a ridiculous $71 billion dollar trade surplus with the U.S. The $20 billion dollar Wall is “peanuts” compared to what Mexico makes from the U.S. NAFTA is a bad joke!

To which Mexico’s chief negotiator, Keith Smith Ramos, responded:
“Let this be clear: the issue of the payment for a #border #wall is not, and will never be, part of the #NAFTA #negotiations #wearenotjoking.”

The priority of anybody who is fighting for trade that benefits people and the planet has to placed in having a process that is truly transparent and inclusive. The back and forth of the use of the threat to terminate has been a bully tactic that has done more to send mixed-messaging to different stakeholders as a political tactic. Fair trade is not done in a way that plays with what people want to hear while being swayed by corporate lobbyists who want corporate trade to remain the status quo behind their backs. While we understand that successful negotiations can require a variety of tactics, none of them should be at the expense of a consistently well-informed public that has a say in the process and final result of trade negotiations.

We re-iterate that independently of whether Trump terminates NAFTA or not, we must accept no new deal that is not a radical transformation of the status quo. We cannot accept a deal that criminalizes immigrants and is tied to border wall funding, we cannot accept a deal that says it will create more jobs while we already know the Trump administration has hurt workers in at least ten significant ways in the past year, we cannot accept a deal that includes ISDS or take meaningful steps towards fighting climate change.

Trade for People and Planet

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