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  Environmental Policy Issues

NAFTA Environmental Issues
(Released July 2000)

 

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  1. NAFTA and the greening of international trade policy

    CONTEMP. ISS. SER., 1993, no. 60, 24 pp.

    Rules on international trade are highly developed and reflect nearly 50 years of GATT negotiations. In the multilateral trading scheme, the environmental debate is a new factor to be assessed. There is a genuine threat that the environmental issue may be abused and become a trade barrier. Without the establishment of global or multilateral accords and standards, the United States may find itself on the receiving end of the "environmental trade barrier" argument. On the positive side, recently the OECD adopted multilateral guidelines on trade and the environment. The OECD trade and environment program will address processes and production methods, harmonization of environmental standards among member states and utilization of trade measures for environmental purposes.

  2. The greening of free trade: NAFTA, Mexican environmental law, and debt exchanges for Mexican environmental infrastructure development

    Kublicki, N

    Columbia Journal of Environmental Law [COLUMBIA J. ENVIRON. LAW], vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 59-140, 1994

    This article attempts to correct the misconceptions concerning NAFTA's impact on the environment. The article addresses NAFTA's environmental provisions. Mexican environmental law, and the importance to Mexico of NAFTA's environmental provisions, and suggests alternatives to trade sanction authority as a means to ensure Mexican protection of the environment.

  3. The North American Free Trade Agreement: An ecological-economic synthesis for the United States and Mexico

    DeBellevue, EB; Hitzel, E; Cline, K; Benitez, JA; Ramos-Miranda, J; Segura, O

    Ecological Economics [ECOL. ECON.], vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 53-71, 1994

    The prospect of a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has alarmed environmentally concerned professionals and citizens because of potential for exacerbated environmental destruction in each country. The concern in the trade and business community is that provisions for environmental protection would hobble the trade agreement and could effectively negate the positive economic benefits. The purpose of this paper is to consider the various environmental and economic implications of NAFTA and suggest policies that should allow for both a functional NAFTA and environmental protection. This paper summarizes the various potential environmental impacts along with existing free-trade mechanisms for environmental protection. It evaluates the rationale for a transition from current free-trade doctrines to those of sustainable free trade. Also recommended are several suggestions including the creation of a companion North American Environmental Protection Treaty (NAEPT). This treaty would contain trade-related policies beneficial to the environment, but inappropriate to a trade agreement. It would include short-term expansion of GATT articles for protection of the environment, and longer-term transformation of GATT into a General Agreement on Trade and the Environment (GATE). A form of countervailing duties called recompensing duties, and a form of Pigovian tax called a retributive environmental impact (REI) tax designed to ease adverse social, economic and environmental impacts during the transitional period of upward harmonization of standards are proposed. Specific recommendations for NAFTA, NAEPT and GATE are provided.

  4. The new era of global environmental protection: Part I--NAFTA "1,2,3"

    Hopp, R

    J. ENVIRON. REGUL., vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 233-242, 1994

    This article is Part I of a three-part series concerning the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on the environment and on the developing conflict between free trade and environmental law. It describes the environmental provisions of NAFTA, the NAFTA Environmental Side Agreement, and the U.S.-Mexico Border Financing Agreement. It also examines some of the direct impacts these agreements will have on environmental protection within North America. Part II, which immediately follows in this issue, describes Mexico's past and current environmental protection efforts. Part III, which will appear in the Summer 1994 issue of JER, will focus on NAFTA's role in the conflict between free trade and environmental law, including the relationship of NAFTA to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT

  5. The new era of global environmental protection: Part II--Mexico yesterday and today

    Hopp, R

    J. ENVIRON. REGUL., vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 243-252, 1994

    This article is Part II of a three-part series concerning the impact of NAFTA on the environment and the developing conflict between free trade and environmental law. This part describes Mexico's past and current environmental protection efforts and the effect that Mexico's fiscal and social reforms, and NAFTA, will have on future Mexican and U.S. environmental regulation. Part III will be included in the Summer 1994 issue of this journal, as the U.S. Congress takes-up the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

  6. The new era of global environmental protection: Part III-NAFTA, GATT, and the sanctity of free trade

    Hopp, R

    J. ENVIRON. REGUL., vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 343-357, 1994

    The author discusses the environmental implications of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Mexican environmental program, and the relationship between free trade agreements and the environment generally. The author previously examined the NAFTA environmental agreements and the history and current status of environmental regulation in Mexico and now explores the emerging conflict between environmental law and free trade agreements, such as NAFTA and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

  7. NAFTA, public health, and environmental issues in border states

    Atkinson, A

    Natural Resources & Environment [NAT. RESOUR. ENVIRON.], vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 23-25, 1994

    During the last decade, the ties that draw countries together both economically and environmentally have become increasingly apparent. This was clearly exposed in the recent debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and in recent decisions interpreting the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Environmental aspects of other international treaties have also come under close scrutiny. This article examines the effects NAFTA and its companion, the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, may have on public health and environmental regulation in border states.

  8. Environmental interests in trade policy: Institutional reform and the North American Free Trade Agreement

    Audley, JJ

    Social Science Journal [SOC. SCI. J.], vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 327-360, 1995

    National environmental organizations played two roles during negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Adversarial environmental organizations threatened to defeat NAFTA by forming coalitions with labor and other interest groups opposed to its passage. Accommodating environmental organizations used their formal and informal access to pro-trade policy elites to negotiate provisions which included environmental concerns in NAFTA without jeopardizing the overall goals to expand economic activity. Both groups explored the political sequence of events responsible for linking environmental issues to trade policy negotiations. Despite unprecedented gains for environmentalists in NAFTA, it is not certain whether the new role of environmentalists will result in continued progress in efforts to reconcile trade and environmental policy goals.

  9. NAFTA's repercussions: Is green trade possible?

    Magraw, D

    ENVIRONMENT, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 14-20, 39, 1994

    The North American Free Trade Agreement has generated a storm of controversy both within and outside the environmental movement. Some critics think that NAFTA is too green; others complain that it does not go far enough toward protecting North America's environment from the effects of free trade. This analysis of the environmental provisions in NAFTA and its side agreements examines the new trade relationships and institutions created by NAFTA and whether they are likely to bring the world one step closer to green trade.

  10. Environmental issues along the United States-Mexico border: Drivers of change and responses of citizens and institutions

    Liverman, DM; Varady, RG; Chavez, O; Sanchez, R

    Annual Review of Energy and the Environment [Annu. Rev. Energy Environ.], vol. 24, pp. 607-643, 1999

    The US-Mexico border region illustrates the challenges of binational environmental management in the context of a harsh physical environment, rapid growth, and economic integration. Transboundary and shared resources and conflicts include limited surface water supplies, depletion of groundwater, air and water pollution, hazardous waste, and conservation of important natural ecosystems. Public policy responses to environmental problems on the border include binational institutions such as the IBWC, BECC and CEC, the latter two established in response to environmental concerns about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Environmental social movements and nongovernmental organizations have also become important agents in the region. These new institutions and social movements are especially interesting on the Mexican side of the border where political and economic conditions have often limited environmental enforcement and conservation, and where recent policy changes also include changes in land and water law, political democratization, and government decentralization.

  11. Globalization and local sustainability: the case of the US-Mexico border

    Requier-Desjardins, D

    International Journal of Sustainable Development [Int. J. Sustainable Dev.], vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 283-302, 1999

    Local environmental issues appear caught up in the rhetoric of planetary problems. Nevertheless, the unequal allocation of ecological strains can entail a specific idiosyncrasy of issues at the local level, which could combine with the idiosyncrasy of the local patterns of development. This paper addresses the relationship between competitiveness and environment by intertwining the global and local levels of analysis in the case of the US-Mexico border, for which there is a specific link between international trade, local development and North-South relationship. The rising level of environmental degradation in the border area is linked to the process of industrial development that the area has experienced during the past thirty years, but this impact may be more indirect than direct. The growing awareness of this degradation and the subsequent steps which have been taken, either at a public or a private level, have been fuelled by the institutional process of economic integration between the two countries, culminating in NAFTA. These steps have impacted the strategies of firms in the border area and provided an incentive to the development of an EGS sector. But the characterization of the local industrial development reflects itself in the kind of response firms have given to this incentive. To sum up, globalization is marked by specific patterns of concentration of economic activity which entail specific local dimension of environmental issues.

  12. Air pollution: The Border Smog Reduction Act's impact on ozone levels

    GAO, WASHINGTON, DC (USA), 1999, 9 pp.

    This report provides information on the recently enacted Border Smog Reduction Act of 1998. GAO is required to study the potential impact of the act, which now applies only to the San Diego metropolitan area and amends the Clean Air Act to prohibit certain foreign-registered, noncommercial vehicles from entering the area more than twice a month. GAO focuses on measured ozone levels and the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement on ozone in the San Diego area.

  13. Does NAFTA make a difference?

    Marchak, MP

    Organization & Environment [Organ. Environ.], vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 133-154, Jun 1998

    Claims made by the United States and Canadian governments to the effect that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is beneficial for the North American environment are contested with reference to the actual text of the NAFTA and its side agreements and to cases and current history related to it. The argument is that although NAFTA has more to say about environmental issues, in fact, it is not protective of the environment. Provisions in the agreement for environmental and resource protection are weak or nonexistent. Its primary objective is to promote trade and investment, and these take precedence over environmental concerns. As well, the Commission on Environmental Cooperation has limited capacity to deal with environmental issues, and again, trade issues are paramount.

  14. Costly pollution abatement, competitiveness and plant location decisions

    Markusen, James R

    RESOUR ENERGY ECON, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 299-320, Nov 1997

    The NAFTA debate included assertions that were used as arguments against trade and investment liberalization. (1) Trade liberalization increases production sensitivity to environmental restrictions (`environmental dumping'?). (2) Investment liberalization, leading to multinational firms, similarly increases the production and welfare response to costly environmental restrictions. I find that: (1) Trade liberalization increases production sensitivity to costly environmental restrictions, but arguments against liberal trade on welfare grounds do not follow. (2) Multinationals do not increase the production-reallocation effect caused by environmental restrictions or regulations. In addition, I find a great difference between restrictions that fall on fixed costs and restrictions that fall on marginal costs.

  15. NAFTA spurs first toxics inventory report

    Chemical and Engineering News [Chem. Eng. News], vol. 75, no. 35, pp. 26-30, Sep 1997

    Under the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the first attempt at a continentwide pollutant release and transfer registry has been prepared. The report compares chemical releases and transfers from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, and it greatly resembles the U.S. Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). NAFTA is the 1993 trade accord reached between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to create a free-trade zone throughout North America. In addition to trade issues, however, NAFTA includes a specific side agreement for improvement of the environmental condition of the continent. It is under this part of NAFTA that the pollutant inventory was prepared. The report is done by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), an organization created under the North American Agreement for Environmental Cooperation, the environmental side agreement of NAFTA. CEC is supposed to prevent trade and environmental conflicts between NAFTA partners and promote enforcement of environmental laws. It is also charged with producing the pollution registry. The CEC report, "Taking Stock: North American Pollutant Releases and Transfers," is the first attempt to compare data from EPA's TRI, Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI), and the start-up trials for Mexico's Registro de Emissiones y Transferencia de Contaminantes (RETC). TRI began in 1987 and is the most advanced and comprehensive of the toxic pollutant inventories. NPRI first collected emissions and transfer information in 1993 and includes fewer chemicals but more industries than the U.S. system. Most of the report uses just the U.S. and Canadian data. Mexico's emissions program is new and has only data from a test case in the state of Queretaro collected during 1995.

  16. The environmental effects of agricultural trade liberalization in Latin America: An interpretation

    May, PH; Bonilla, OS

    Ecological Economics [Ecol. Econ.], vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 5-18, Jul 1997

    The trade and environment debate has focused attention on the possible contradiction between promoting free markets while meeting domestic environmental objectives. This paper takes a view from the South. Recent econometric models predict net effects of expanded agricultural trade to be positive for the global environment. Yet, further pressure on degraded resources and marginal farmers, and a reinforcement of sectoral policies that benefit commercial export crop growers as opposed to food producers may make increased trade more of a bane than a blessing for developing countries. In the context of emerging regional trading blocks in Latin America (NAFTA and Mercosur), removal of trade barriers between participating nations has led to dislocation of production whose localized impacts, it is hoped, would be resolved through 'reconversion' of agriculture in affected subregions. It may be, however, that internalization of socio-environmental costs of such dislocation would indicate that production, despite competitive disadvantages, would best have been left where it was. To gain a better empirical understanding of the links between agricultural trade policy and the environment will require prediction of ecosystem stresses anticipated from alterations in how producers grow crops in specific geophysical settings, rather than reliance on stylized facts.

  17. NAFTA's environmental institutions and Texas border infrastructure

    Cavanagh, Sheila

    WATER RESOUR PLANN MANAGE URBAN WATER RESOUR, ASCE, NEW YORK, NY, (USA), 1997, pp. 440-446

    Water and wastewater infrastructure in Texas border counties does not adequately serve the border's growing population and industry. Existing state and federal sources of funding meet only a fraction of the financial need for Texas border water and wastewater projects. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created two institutions to address environmental infrastructure needs along the U.S.-Mexico border, the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) and the North American Development Bank (NADBank). This paper examines the potential for Texas border communities to access BECC and NADBank financial and technical assistance. The analysis sheds light on the obstacles and opportunities for cooperation between communities borderwide and BECC/NADBank.

  18. The commission for environmental cooperation and environmental management in the Americas

    Mumme, SP; Duncan, P

    Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs [J. Interam. Stud. World Aff.], vol. 39, no. 4, pp. 41-62, 1997

    To what extent has the North American Free Trade Agreement contributed to strengthening and deepening international environmental management in the Americas? Should the system be broadened to incorporate other nations? While a complete answer to these queries is currently beyond reach, there should be little doubt that NAFTA has influenced and continues to influence the direction of environmental management in North America and the hemisphere at large. The agreement has spawned a series of new institutions that are already reshaping current practices and that have considerable promise for broadening the range of international commitments to environmental management in the Americas. The most prominent and most relevant of these is the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). This article examines the CEC's contribution to the North American environmental management system and explores the implications of its expansion across the hemisphere.

  19. Economic analysis of deforestation in Mexico

    Barbier, EB; Burgess, JC

    Environment and Development Economics [ENVIRON. DEV. ECON.], vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 203-239, May 1996

    This paper uses panel analyses to estimate relationships for agricultural planted area and beef cattle numbers at the state level in Mexico during the period 1970-85, in order to determine the main factors affecting forest land conversion. Of the key policy variables, maize and fertilizer prices appear to be the main influences on the expansion of planted area, whereas beef prices and credit disbursement influence cattle numbers. Population growth also affects both livestock and agricultural activities, and income per capita is positively correlated with cattle expansion. These estimated relationships are used to examine the effects both of agricultural and livestock sectoral policy changes and of trade liberalization in Mexico resulting from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). To avoid any unintended impacts of NAFTA on deforestation, it may be necessary for Mexico to make complementary investments in land improvements, especially for existing cultivation on rainfed land.

  20. Mexican environmental regulations: How they affect your business decisions

    Wolfson, PS; Loyd, ME; Carlsson, CS; Hernandez, MJ

    Natural Resources & Environment [Nat. Resour. Environ.], vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 48-51, 1996

    During negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement, great concern was expressed over Mexico's apparent lack of sufficient safeguards to control pollution of the environment. Some believed that businesses would flock to Mexico to benefit from a less stringent environmental regime. Thus far, this has not proved to be the case. Although Mexico's environmental regime may be relatively new, it is comprehensive and, as Mexico improves and expands enforcement of these requirements, more businesses will be forced to comply with the requirements or risk the imposition of sanctions. This article provides a general overview of the Mexican environmental system, including those requirements that should be considered, and further investigated if necessary, in conducting or negotiating business transactions.

  21. Challenges in international harmonization

    Nightingale, SL

    Drug Information Journal [DRUG INF. J.], vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 1-9, 1995

    This paper covers the challenges that regulatory agencies face with regard to international harmonization. The International Conference on Harmonization (ICH) process, while very successful, has raised a number of tissues that must be dealt with. Trade agreements such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) raise other issues. The FDA's international activities, as well as its resources and priorities, are described. Examples of FDA challenges currently being dealt with are provided.

  22. Impacts of NAFTA on Canadian water policy

    Heathcote, Isobel W

    PROC 22 ANNU CONF INTEGR WATER RES PLAN 21 CENTURY, ASCE, 1995, pp. 1149-1152

    Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, water is considered a 'good' subject to trade agreements and challenges. Canadian critics of the Agreement charge that it will facilitate major water diversions and hydroelectric projects involving major negative environmental impacts. Although Canada appears to command a significant portion of the world's fresh water supplies, many rivers flow north to the Arctic Ocean. In the border region, many lakes and rivers are already adversely affected by industrial and municipal pollution. Under NAFTA, there will be increasing pressure to divert the remaining pristine waters to water-starved regions of the United States. While the legal and political implications of NAFTA are still emerging, the debate is prompting Canadian policy analysts to a long-overdue re-examination of domestic water use and regulatory efficiency.

  23. Fishing for compromises through NAFTA and environmental dispute-settlement: The tuna-dolphin controversy

    Hurwitz, D

    Natural Resources Journal [NAT. RESOUR. J.], vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 501-540, 1995

    The conflict between tuna fishing practices and dolphin protection epitomizes the antagonism between environmentalists and free trade advocates. The history of the tuna-dolphin conflict and the different perspectives of the parties show that traditional dispute-settlement procedures, particularly those of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), are unacceptable for solving complex international disputes. This article examines the potential of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its Supplemental Agreements to resolve the tuna-dolphin conflict. The conclusion is that the NAFTA Supplemental Agreements create a framework for solution by bringing all of the international actors together through a mutually agreed-upon commitment to environmental cooperation. Thus, NAFTA can institutionalize procedures for the resolution of trade and environmental disputes and be a model for structuring multilateral trade agreements.

  24. The new regime for managing US-Mexican water resources

    Mumme, SP

    Environmental Management [ENVIRON. MANAGE.], vol. 19, no. 6, pp. 827-835, 1995

    United States-Mexican transboundary water resources management is presently experiencing significant reform resulting from long-term demographic processes in the border region and greater economic integration. The recently concluded North American Free Trade Agreement and supplementary environment accord modify existing agreements and provide old institutions with new mandates. Particularly affected is the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), long the lead agency in binational water management. This essay reviews the development of the new water management regime against the two preceding phases of management reform and considers its implications for improved water management in the border region.

  25. Trade liberalization and pollution: An input-output study of carbon dioxide emissions in Mexico

    Gale, LR IV

    Economic Systems Research [ECON. SYST. RES.], vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 309-320, 1995

    This paper examines the environmental effects associated with Mexico's participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The objective is to provide quantitative estimates of carbon dioxide (CO sub(2)) emissions from changes in the level and structure of production and consumption activity in Mexico following a liberalization of trade. The quantitative analysis was performed using input-output methods with fuel use modifications to account for CO sub(2) emissions before and after NAFTA's implementation. As a result of NAFTA, CO sub(2) emissions are expected to increase from the anticipated increase in the size of the Mexican economy. While total emissions increase as a result of tariff elimination, there is also a shift in the structure of production and final consumption away from those sectors that are the most CO sub(2) intensive.

  26. NAFTA and recycling: Opportunity or threat?

    Miller, C

    RECYCLING TIMES, vol. 6, no. 2, 1,9, 1994

    After a bitter political fight, the U.S. Congress approved the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) last November. During the debate, national environmental groups split over support of the treaty. Recycling was rarely mentioned during the NAFTA debate. In part, this is because there is very little information on the impact of existing free trade agreements on recycling. Neither the Canadian-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the European Community, nor the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) have dealt with many recycling-related issues. International free trade is governed primarily by GATT. GATT's Secretariat recently warned against protectionism masquerading as environmentalism. The Secretariat insisted that access to a country's markets should not be dependent on the environmental policies or practices of the exporting country. While not speaking specifically to recycling laws, a recent Office of Technology Assessment (Washington, D.C.) report argued that GATT is more likely to uphold restrictions on products (if they apply equally to domestic and imported products) than upon processes (even if matched by equal restrictions on domestic production processes). No one really knows if NAFTA will harm recycling laws. With NAFTA approved by Congress and GATT appearing to have survived its latest round of talks, recycling issues may finally emerge.

  27. NAFTA's green opportunities

    Johnson, PM; Beaulieu, A

    Journal of Environmental Law & Practice [J. ENVIRON. LAW PRACT.], vol. 1, no. 5, pp. 5-15, 1994

    The authors analyze the environmental provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation. They elaborate on the strengths and weaknesses of the new treaties in the context of existing international commercial and environmental law.

  28. NAFTA is catalyst for Mexican wastewater treatment plant

    Pique, GG

    Water Environment and Technology [WATER ENVIRON. TECHNOL.], vol. 6, no. 8, 44, 1994 One of the first direct investment concessions completed for Mexico by a U.S. firm since passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is complete. The project is the first phase of a 600-L/s (13.8-mgd) wastewater treatment plant in Cuernavaca, a city in the Mexican state of Morelos. The plant is The decision to construct the plant was influenced by the Mexican government's enforcement of water pollution control regulations and by the liberalized investment rules prompted by NAFTA. The plant will satisfy Cuernavaca's need to treat municipal wastewater discharged directly into the nearby Apatlaco River. Although the river contained high levels of cholera and salmonella because of the untreated discharges, neither the city nor federal government had the money to build a suitable treatment facility.

  29. NAFTA may provide for international river remediation

    Fries, T; Lucero, G

    Water Environment and Technology [WATER ENVIRON. TECHNOL.], vol. 6, no. 4, p. 30, 1994

    Buoyed by the recent passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Board of Supervisors of California's Imperial County, which is located on the Mexican border, submitted petitions to two federal government agencies requesting action to clean up the contaminated New River, which flows from Mexicali, Mexico, to Calexico, Calif.

  30. NAFTA's green accords: Sound and fury signifying little.

    Taylor, J

    Policy Analysis [POLICY ANAL.], no. 198, 34 pp, 1993

    This paper is an examination of the language of NAFTA and the environmental side agreement and the charges leveled by conservative critics of the treaty. The conclusion reached is that the green language of NAFTA will have little practical impact on domestic environmental law or on the sovereignty of nations. Although the environmental language of NAFTA is by and large objectionable, it is a minor irritant, not a crippling deformity, of the treaty.