Thursday, June 16, 2011

It’s called renegotiation and we do it all the time


Last time I checked, the North American Free Trade Agreement was not carved in stone. In fact, none of the laws our government is based on, or works by, are immune to change.
                             
Take the most precious of U.S. documents, the Constitution, the one that grants those oh-so-important inalienable rights.

Yet, that document has 17 ratified amendments – counting prohibition and the subsequent amendment that made booze legal again – since the initial Bill of Rights.

That means that despite the best efforts of the original drafters of the Constitution, things have changed a bit since 1789 and the Constitution now reflects that.

Treaties are no different. Take Canada, our neighbor to the north.

Public Citizen dug in on this point a few years ago and came up with some interesting numbers.

We have had treaties in place with Canada since 1794. By 2008 there had been 299 negotiated agreements and treaties of all types. At that point we were changing our relationship with Canada right around 1.397 times per year.

Trade agreements don’t fare much better. In fact from 1988 to 2008, there were 28 trade agreements, including several changes to NAFTA.

What makes the cross-border trucking provision in NAFTA so untouchable? We can broker new agreements with other countries. Why not Mexico? 

Simply put, when NAFTA was signed, things were different. Today’s realities were unimaginable. There’s absolutely no excuse for going ahead “because we have to.”

It’s called renegotiation. Give it a try.

2 comments:

  1. Renegotiation has already happened since Mexico is not holding up their end of the agreement. They obviously are not serious about taking the necessary steps to make true 'free trade' possible. We have no obligation to an agreement that is corrupted the moment implementation occurs.

    When we get married we expect that our new spouse is married too. Otherwise there is no marriage. NAFTA is no different. I say annul the darn thing.

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