Round 6 of the NAFTA negotiations occurred in Montreal from January 23 to the 26th, 2018. The Indigenous Chapter was discussed between the tri-national negotiators Canada, Mexico and the United States. The International Intertribal Trade and Investment Organization as represented by Michael Woods and Wayne Garnons-Williams, attended the available stakeholder briefings.
On July 14, 2017 IITIO filed submissions with Global Affairs concerning, among other things, Indigenous representation in trade negotiations and the development of an Indigenous Chapter within a revised NAFTA.
Out of 2500 submissions on suggested topics for re-opening NAFTA, IITIO’s was the only Indigenous trade submission. In July 2017 Global Affairs formed the Global Affairs Indigenous Chapter Working Group (GAICWG) in which IITIO played a founding role with Global Affairs. The Global Affairs Indigenous Chapter Working Group (GAICWG) was tasked with hammering out the details of what content would go into the Indigenous Chapter, how best to ensure that all interests will be accommodated, and how Indigenous rights will not be eroded. IITIO has been involved in this Global Affairs led collaborative and inclusive process involving all interested Canadian Indigenous stakeholders and rights-holders in developing and shaping the Indigenous Chapter for negotiation.
The Indigenous Chapter was first tabled ahead of round 5 in Mexico City and Canada, Mexico and U.S. discussed the chapter for the first time during round 6 in Montreal.
Canada recognizes the important role of economic development in improving opportunities for Indigenous peoples and their communities. Canada also recognizes the cultural and historical importance of trade for Indigenous peoples.
The objectives of a chapter on Trade and Indigenous peoples are to:
- Recognize the important role of Indigenous peoples in trade, both historically and also in the context of facilitating sustainable growth and prosperity for Indigenous communities.
- Facilitate cooperative activities between the Parties and enhance the ability of Indigenous peoples to participate in and benefit from the opportunities created by this Agreement; and,
- Establish a committee to oversee the implementation of the chapter and consider matters of relevance to Indigenous peoples across the Agreement.
Canada is seeking to make NAFTA more progressive by incorporating in the Agreement strong and enhanced labour and environmental provisions; adding new chapters on trade and gender and a chapter on trade and Indigenous peoples.
The U.S. and Mexico have noted that some areas of Canada’s proposal could present challenges but have undertaken to conduct further domestic consultations with a view to presenting further feedback at round 7 in Mexico in late-February.
The International Intertribal Trade and Investment Organization openly invites all Canadian and US tribes to submit their list of what they can sell to other Indigenous businesses and organizations (Indigenous goods and services on offer) and goods and services they need (Indigenous Procurement) by our deadline of April 30, 2018 so that Global Affairs & IITIO may start the process of developing initial trade opportunities with American Indigenous tribes and American Indian businesses. Attach the hyperlink open invitation to participate. https://iitio.org/trade3-1/