NAFTA is being renegotiated into TPP 2.0
The first round of NAFTA renegotiations happened this week, and they have a very familiar feel.
Despite promises in March by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (USTR) that the negotiations would be transparent, the USTR now considers the documents and negotiations “classified” and they’ll be cloaked in secrecy.
But corporate lobbyists have access. And they’re all over it.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation put it this way:
Once again, following the failed model of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the USTR will be keeping the negotiating texts secret, and in an actual regression from the TPP will be holding no public stakeholder events alongside the first round. This may or may not set a precedent for future rounds, that will rotate between the three countries every few weeks thereafter, with a scheduled end date of mid-2018.
No "public stakeholder" means no representatives from labor, environmentalists, or public health and consumer groups. No public input at all.
But business lobbyists can get in, and everything will be secret. Just like TPP all over again.
Speaking of TPP 2.0.
"TPP is the ‘gold standard’ for the modern free trade agreement," says Michael Camunez, president of Monarch Global Strategies in Washington and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce under Obama. "A new NAFTA will have variations of TPP with stronger labor and environment provisions inside the agreement rather than as sideline agreements, and the U.S. will get strong intellectual property protections. In term of trade agreements, you're going from NAFTA, which is like the Model T of regional trade agreements, to a TPP, which is something more like a Tesla."
And in related news, the Trump Administration is trying to get TTIP negotiations restarted.