OTTAWA — The Green Party of Canada welcomes the improvements in the final NAFTA 2.1 (officially the Canada-United States-Mexico-Agreement, or CUSMA) signed this week in Mexico, but still sees flaws in the agreement.
Green Party International Trade critic Paul Manly (MP, Nanaimo-Ladysmith) voiced guarded support.
“There are definitely positive outcomes in this agreement as it does strengthen labour and environmental standards,” said Mr. Manly. “I’m glad to see investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions gone. I’m encouraged to see that the proportionality clause that obligates Canada to maintain a fixed share of energy exports to the U.S. has been eliminated.
“The proposed patent extension on biologic drugs has been removed, which is a positive measure for implementing a universal Pharmacare program. Improved Rules of Origin governing where goods are produced and what materials they contain will be critical to ensuring standards of transparency in manufacturing.”
However, Mr. Manly is waiting to see how the new state-to-state arbitration will play out and whether the new agreement will finally put an end to the softwood lumber dispute. “With regulatory cooperation, will regulations improve or be incrementally eroded?” he wondered, adding that he is also concerned about the erosion of our supply management system which will certainly elicit pushback from Canadian farmers.
“This agreement is definitely an improvement over the first NAFTA,” said Green Party Parliamentary Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “Even before the changes insisted upon by U.S. Democrats, it was already significantly better due to eliminating the energy chapter and Chapter 11 (ISDS). Ultimately, we have to remember that there is not a choice between no NAFTA and new NAFTA. We certainly support this revised NAFTA as an improvement on the status quo."
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