[The main concern here is clearly the one stated in the title, but Canadian readers should also note NAFTA's seldom-mentioned "expanded intellectual property protections." -jlt]
When the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was negotiated and signed in the early 90s, few people were thinking about its security implications. Environmentalists objected, fearing a corporate race to exploit natural resources and produce industrial wastes where environmental regulation and enforcement was weakest. Labor objected, arguing that companies would move jobs to where organized labor and workers' rights were most vulnerable. There was vague talk about improving trinational relations and promoting joint foreign policy agendas, but the goal of a broader North American alliance remained formally off the table in order to steer the agreement through a reluctant U.S. Congress.
|Although this paradigm had been widely repudiated by other nations in the world for its justification of unilateral action, preemptive strikes, executive power, and restriction of civil liberties—and particularly for the unpopular invasion of Iraq—Canada and Mexico by this time had developed such strong dependence on the U.S. market that they were obliged to adopt the SPP.|
The resulting pact was called a trade agreement, but is really a trade and investment agreement with significant changes in other areas important to transnational business, including expanded intellectual property protections. It was not until after the Bush administration came into power and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 provided the rationale for adoption of the Bush National Security Doctrine that security issues took center stage in the regional integration model.
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