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Argument: NAFTA is good for the environment

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NAFTA allows for greater government support for environmental regulation

  • The Environmental Defense Fund, argues that NAFTA’s presumed short-term environmental effects may be more properly attributed to macroeconomic and social trends evident in 1994, that regional trade integration would have intensified with or without NAFTA, and that NAFTA strengthened governmental support for environmental protection within the North American region that would otherwise have been unattainable.[1]
  • NAFTA and Environment. Foreign Policy in Focus. Volume 4, Number 26 October 1999 - "Environmental concerns were afterthoughts to NAFTA, forced on the governments by environmental and labor groups. In response, the three governments wrote sustainable development into NAFTA’s preamble, strengthened sanitary and phytosanitary (plant health) trade requirements, and vowed that NAFTA would not drive down the region’s environmental standards. NAFTA’s critics also gained new institutions and programs, including side agreements on North American environmental cooperation and infrastructure development along the U.S.-Mexico border. Linking trade to sustainable development for the first time in a multilateral trade agreement, NAFTA set an important precedent, challenging Free Trade Agreement of the Americas negotiators and the World Trade Organization to write environmental protection directly into future trade accords. Such measures are vital if sustainable development is to be given meaning at the global level."
  • The Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) was instituted through NAFTA.[2] - Investing in sustainable development along the US-Mexico boarder.
  • The North American Development Bank (NADBank) - Also investing in sustainable development along the US-Mexico border,

NAFTA's environmental failures can be addressed within the NAFTA framework, and are not inherent flaws of NAFTA

  • They key recommendations of Foreign Policy in Focus regard strengthening environmental protections within the existing NAFTA framework, instead of getting rid of NAFTA all together.
      • NAFTA and Environment. Foreign Policy in Focus. Volume 4, Number 26 October 1999 -
      • The CEC should strengthen its ties with NAFTA's Free Trade Commission and other NAFTA-linked institutions.
      • BECC and NADBank must refine their citizen access and transparency procedures. The Border XXI Program should move beyond federal initiatives to strengthen local environmental capacity on the U.S.-Mexico border.
      • NAFTA's environmental protections should be strengthened, better funded, and built into future trade accords.

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