Friday, November 5, 2010

NAFTA claims against Canada surge

The North American Free Trade Agreement has had its critics from the get-go (myself included). Here's an example of why:

Foreign investors are increasingly targeting Canada for alleged breaches of the North American free-trade pact and it's costing the federal government millions of dollars in damages and legal fees, according to a new study.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found as of October, 43% of 66 claims under NAFTA's investment chapter were made by foreign investors against Canada.

"The trend over the last five years is alarming. More than half the claims (54%) against Canada since NAFTA came into force over 15 years ago were initiated during this time period," said CCPA senior researcher Scott Sinclair said.

"This trend reflects a growing awareness among foreign investors and corporate trade lawyers of NAFTA investment rights, and an increasing willingness to invoke them to contest public policy measures," he said.

From the Brantford Expositor (my bold). And what kind of public policy measures might those be? Here are a few examples:

April 14, 1997 Challenged Canadian ban on import and inter-provincial trade of gasoline additive MMT.

July 22, 1998 Challenged temporary Canadian ban (Nov. 1995 -Feb. 1997) on export of toxic PCB wastes.

Dec. 24, 1998 Challenged lumber export quota system.

Apr. 23, 2009 Newfoundland provincial government enacted legislation to return water use and timber rights to the crown.

Most of us have heard of this sort of thing before, but it's still disturbing, especially given the escalation in the number of claims of late.

No comments: