Negotiations begin for a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, releases the following statement:
“Trade is a critical component of easing poverty and promoting development. New NAFTA negotiations must ensure that protections are in place for vulnerable communities.
"Access to medicines must be a priority during the NAFTA negotiations. In the past, trade agreements failed to ensure that vulnerable people could access life-saving medicine. A successful trade agreement ensures that poor communities won't get priced out of the medicines they need.
"Too many trade agreements undermine protections for poor communities, local labor standards and environmental laws. Predatory hedge funds manipulate these trade agreements to collect on old debts of countries. In the new NAFTA agreement, we need to see trade disputes resolved in ways that protect the poor and that ensure those affected by trade decisions are involved in making the decisions."