Environment and Climate Minister Catherine McKenna touted stronger environmental regulation as a potential point of agreement in NAFTA negotiations between Canada, the United States, and Mexico, after convening a roundtable session with more than a dozen business and civil society representatives and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.
The gathering took place a day after tripartite negotiations began in Washington, DC, with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland saying she’d like to see NAFTA 2.0 move previous side deals on labour and the environment into the main agreement.
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“We believe that when you regulate for the environment, you’re actually making your country more competitive, not less,” McKenna said. “I was pleased to see the U.S. believes that too—that they believe there shouldn’t be a race to the bottom by having lax environmental standards.”
The negotiating parties “have stronger environmental standards, all three countries, since NAFTA was negotiated,” she added, “and I think that’s an opportunity.”
Clean Energy Canada, the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance, Smart Prosperity, Renewable Industries Canada, the Canadian Environmental Law Association, the Canadian Electrical Association, and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers were among the organizations attending McKenna’s roundtable, iPolitics reports.
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