The disappointing results for farmers, rural communities, and working families throughout North America remind us that massive trade agreements should not be negotiated behind closed doors but negotiated openly with public input to ensure a fair deal for all.
Whether it is through an update to the USMCA trade deal or through new legislation, one thing is clear: Americans cannot wait any longer for this critical investment in food safety and the good-paying jobs our families need.
The new USMCA takes a step back in other areas, reading like a de-regulatory wish list for global agribusiness firms operating in all three countries.
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Since NAFTA’s start in 1994, “free trade” schemes have put hundreds of thousands of U.S. family farms out of business, while dramatically increasing corporate agribusiness’ profits, market control and the monopolization of our farm and food industry.
To revitalize independent family farm agriculture, we need the federal government to restore competition to agriculture and ensure a level playing field for all farmers and ranchers.
Family Farm Organizations From US, Canada Oppose New NAFTA.
On April 17th each year, members of La Via Campesina – the largest umbrella organization in the world for family farmers, fisher and herder folk, hunters/gatherers/foresters, and indigenous peoples – commemorate the massacre of landless peasants in 1996 in the Amazonian state of Pará, Brazil. Nineteen members of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) were attacked and killed while hundreds more peasants were injured by Brazilian military police during their protest for comprehensive agrarian reform. This struggle for justice continues in Brazil today. Events planned for April 17th worldwide may be viewed online (http://bit.ly/2GUu8Y0April17th).
As the formal talks to renegotiate NAFTA begin in Washington, DC this week, family farm organizations from Canada, the United States and Mexico denounce the direction of the talks. Despite repeated demands by civil society organizations in all three countries, the governments have refused to open the talks to the public or to publish proposed negotiating texts. All signs point to negotiations designed to increase agribusiness exports and corporate control over the food system rather than to support fair and sustainable trade and farming systems.
NAFTA should be replaced, not renegotiated, and our farmers will be watching to promote that at every turn.
NAFTA should be replaced with an agreement that encourages and ensures environmental sustainability, economic viability and longevity for the people growing and harvesting our food, as well as their communities, in all three NAFTA countries.
The independent family farming, ranching and fishing members of the National Family Farm Coalition have watched their incomes drop, their markets close and their communities deteriorate since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) passed in 1993. It is time for a new and fair trade agreement that supports independent farmers and fishermen and does not exploit workers or the environment for the unwarranted profits of multinational agribusinesses.
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