On May 18, 2017, the United States formally notified Congress of its intention to initiate negotiations related to NAFTA with Canada and Mexico. In order to prepare for the negotiations, Canada is undertaking a broad consultation process with Canadians.
“The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening and deepening relationships with its North American partners. As the Government prepares for these discussions, the Government is seeking views on key areas in NAFTA that could be clarified or updated, and on any new areas that should form part of a modernized agreement. Furthermore, given that NAFTA has been in force for over 20 years, the Government is seeking information on the areas that have been the most beneficial to Canadian exporters. Views should also take into account reactions to potential proposals from the United States or Mexico where Canada could be pressed to take on commitments to address perceived trade irritants.”(Canada Gazette) gazette.gc.ca
NAFTA has served as a strong anchor for Canadian markets in North America and has helped to expand trade opportunities for Canadian products, goods and services. NAFTA created the largest free trade region in the world when it came into effect on January 1, 1994, generating economic growth and helping to raise the standard of living for the people of the three member countries.
A total of 2.4 million Canadian jobs depend on trade with the United States, and more than $2 billion worth of goods and services cross the border every day. Canada and Mexico are each other’s third largest trading partner, with steadily growing two-way merchandise trade.
This notice is part of the Government of Canada’s ongoing domestic consultation process with stakeholders, including provinces and territories, businesses, civil society organizations, labour unions, academia, Canada’s Indigenous peoples, and individual Canadians.
The Government of Canada wants to hear from citizens. “We need to hear your ideas, your experiences, and your priorities in these consultations.” Stated a recent media release.
“Engaging with Canadians will be an important factor in informing the Government’s positions and proposals in any renegotiation of NAFTA. It will also serve to determine Canada’s objectives and approach to the negotiations.”
Who is invited to participate?
All interested Canadians are invited to share their views or comments on the renegotiation of NAFTA, including:
· Businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
· Civil society organizations and not-for-profit organizations
· Labour unions
· Provincial, territorial and municipal governments
· Indigenous peoples
· Students and youth
· Any other interested Canadians
What will be the focus of consultations?
The Gov’t of Canada is interested in hearing about what aspects or elements of NAFTA have worked well for Canadians and should remain as is – and where changes or improvements could be desirable.
How to participate.
The Government of Canada is seeking the views of all interested Canadians. There are different ways you can participate in these consultations:
Online submission here:www.international.gc.ca
Provide a written submission in response to the Canada Gazette Notice until July 18, 2017, using one of these options:
Send your submission by email:
Or mail to:
Global Affairs Canada
Trade Negotiations – North America (TNP)
Lester B. Pearson Building
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2