Environmental implications of the North American Free Trade Agreement

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2019-05-10

Authors

Fox, Margaret A.

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Abstract

This paper argues that the environmental provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) have been ineffective at preventing environmental harm because of weak enforcement mechanisms. The agreements sacrificed the potential benefits of linking trade and environmental issues by failing to impose trade penalties for environmental infractions. Chapter One of the paper demonstrates how traditional methods of addressing global environmental issues through multiparty environmental agreements have proven largely ineffective. Chapter Two lays out the potentially harmful effects of free trade agreements like NAFTA on the environment. Chapter Three demonstrates how the environmental provisions of NAFTA as well as the NAAEC fail to impose high enough penalties to deter violations. The conclusion briefly discusses the recently signed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and its environmental implications

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