Between March 25 and May 9, the federal government consulted the public on Canada’s participation in a U.S.-led trade negotiation called the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP). The hemispheric scope of APEP has naturally drawn parellels with the Free Trade Area of the Americas, a failed attempt between 1994 and 2005 to extend NAFTA to the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. But in this case, it’s not clear what kinds of trade and investment disciplines APEP will include or if they will be enforceable through state-to-state dispute settlement.
In their submission to the government’s APEP consultations, CCPA researcher Stuart Trew and Carleton University professor Laura Macdonald assert that Canada needs to be clear-eyed about the contentious geopolitics driving this U.S.-led initiative. They urge Canada to focus on those aspects of APEP with the most potential to enhance and enforce worker rights, Indigenous rights, and gender equality; to perform a full gender-based analysis (GBA) of the project; and to use the APEP negotiations to rebalance investor and public rights in the hemisphere by neutralizing investor-state dispute settlement provisions in existing trade and investment treaties.