NAFTA: Small Business Owners Part II

NAFTA: Small Business Owners Part II

Weathering NAFTA: Part III

In recent days, NAFTA talks have resurfaced with no progress in sight. While the U.S. has confirmed its plans to move forward with the proposed trade deal with Mexico, no such arrangement has been made with Canada.

The trilateral trade agreement that has been operating for the last 24 years and has added over $1 trillion dollars of trade between the three countries. While NAFTA has proven fruitful for various businesses in Canada, there are growing concerns following difficult negotiations.

Why Have Recent NAFTA talks Stalled?

NAFTA deals have stalled due to disagreements about the dairy industry and intellectual property rights. The U.S. Department of Commerce wants the Canadian diary industry to increase access to U.S. dairy products and alleges that the Canadian dairy industry is too exclusive.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that he is standing firm on the issue with keeping agricultural concessions with the U.S. as they currently are.

Amongst intellectual property concerns, the White House has requested extensive patent protections for medicines while the Canadian government has not formally agreed to such extensions.

The White House also requests an elimination of international panels to resolve disputes between investors and governments. As international arbitration and mediation are part and parcel of Canadian treatises and agreements with other nations, the elimination of international panels does not seem likely.

How can small diary farmers and businesses deal with current NAFTA Discussions?

Dairy farmers can:

  • Continue to be actively involved in discussions on dairy
  • Write to local MLAs about the importance of remaining firm on U.S. dairy imports
  • Continue to express support for supply management to local industry leaders

    While the points above pertain to dairy farming, the ability to express concern over potential amendments to NAFTA is a universal action that could be taken in other industries.

    The best way to mitigate ongoing discussions from NAFTA is to closely watch the debate and actively voice concerns to local MLAs.

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