Since 1994 Canada, U.S. and Mexico have been economically tied through the North American Free Trade Agreement, harmonizing and liberalizing cross-border trade flows in a variety of exports and labour movements. That was until the election of Donald Trump, who called NAFTA the “worst trade agreement in history” and resolved to renegotiate the terms to be more in favour of the United States.
The United States has always had a problematic attitude towards NAFTA. The most immediate origins of the agreements was in the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and it was a Canadian initiative that took a lot of lobbying in Washington and hard negotiations — Robert Wolfe
President Trump sent his detailed list of changes to Canada and Mexico in July of 2017. What followed were several rounds of talks in hope of finding a new agreement that all sides could agree on. On the deadline for Canada-US negotiations on September 30th of this year, a preliminary deal was finally reached, and the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement has been signed and awaiting ratification by each country’s parliament.
It’s about rules as opposed to power. In the power imbalance like the US-Canada, Canada needed assurance then and now that when there are disputes, they will be resolved on an equal basis and let the evidence talk as opposed to pure power politics — Drew Fagan
In this episode, we seek to learn the impact of this new agreement, the history that led to these massive negotiations, and how the everyday Canadian may or may be affected. Welcome to Beyond the Headlines.
Robert Wolfe is Professor Emeritius from the School of Policy Studies of Queen’s University, teaching in the faculty from 1995 to 2017. Before his work in academia Robert worked in the Canadian foreign service, serving placements in Bangladesh and in the Canadian delegation to the OECD. He is a fellow at Institute for Research on Public Policy, where he an author and co-editor of “Redesigning Canadian Trade Policies for New Global Realities”, which was published last year. (@BobWolfeSPS)
Drew Fagan is a professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. Mr. Fagan is a senior fellow at the Public Policy Forum, where he has overseen recent research reports, as well as the C.D. Howe Institute and a number of other university institutes. Mr. Fagan was previously a Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Infrastructure in Ontario Public Service and an Assistant Deputy Minister at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Mr. Fagan is a sought after speaker and writer.
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