Agreements Like Nafta And Cafta

37How can we integrate our reasonably positive assessment of the NAFTA environmental agreements with the 2009 Zepeda, Wise and Gallagher report? (Zepeda 2009: 16). During their fifteen years of retrospective of the impact of NAFTA on the environment, they found that in recent years, Mexico has weakened its commitment to environmental protection in production, the development of industrial agricultural export farms, the increase in water consumption in water-polluted regions and the increasing use of nitrogen and other agrochemicals. There are formal and informal channels for dispute settlement under NAFTA. Chapter 20 of the Agreement provides for dispute settlement procedures in general. These apply unless there are more specific provisions elsewhere in the agreement. Chapter 14 (Financial Services) established a Financial Services Committee to participate in disputes related to cross-border trade in the financial services sector. Chapter 19 is another known means of resolution, but is limited to anti-dumping and countervailing duty disputes. NAFTA Chapter 11 (Investment) has its own dispute settlement rules that require the parties to the dispute to attempt to reach an agreement “by consultation or negotiation.” In the event of an environmental or labour dispute, there are separate rules and settlement procedures in the ancillary agreements to resolve these issues. 34Despite some protectionist counter-reactions in response to the recent global financial crisis, free trade agreements remain at the heart of global economic activity. 21 That article submits that trade and environmental protection are not necessarily contradictory and that trade agreements may indeed facilitate a certain improvement in environmental protection. 38Our answer must be that the integration of environmental institutions into trade agreements and domestic policy systems in general is a long-term process.

A new legal requirement or the creation of a formal commission for cooperation in the field of the environment is only the beginning; but it is a concrete tool for scientists and environmental activists. Formally, this would mean that the citizens of a country belonging to a free trade agreement would have access to relevant information, participation and appeal decision through the Committee on the Environment. When new problems arise, it is better to have an established unit than to try to create a new one to promote the attachment of subjects. For example, scientist Michele Betsill is studying whether the NAFTA CEC could be the place to set up a North American emissions trading system. In this way, the power and authority of NAFTA could be extended as part of a multi-level governance system (Betsill 2009: 161-180). . . .

Comments are closed.