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Sharp rise in U.S. government lobbying in run up to NAFTA renegotiations

Author(s): Riyaz Dattu, Waleed Malik

Aug 23, 2017

Our previous international trade brief outlined the Canadian government’s objectives for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations and what the implications are for Canadian businesses. In this brief, we discuss the sharp rise in U.S. government lobbying in the run up to the NAFTA renegotiations, the reform of Chapter 11 (the investor-state dispute settlement chapter of NAFTA), and a Trade Case Alert relating to certain polyethylene terephthalate resin from China, India, Oman and Pakistan.

A recent analysis of lobbying data reported on by the International Trade Daily, 155 ITD (Aug. 14, 2017), has revealed a significant increase in lobbying of members of the U.S. Congress on NAFTA in the run up to the negotiations for amending that trade and investment agreement. The number of companies engaged in such lobbying in the U.S. has grown more than 30-fold, rising from nine in the first quarter of 2016 to more than 300 in the second quarter of 2017. The money spent by these companies on lobbying has also rapidly increased at the same time, growing from $18.3 million to $128.9 million.

These figures should send a clear message to Canadian businesses and other stakeholders that may be affected by the NAFTA renegotiations, which officially kicked off on August 16, 2017, that complacency is not an option. It is clear that companies in the United States are actively engaging their government on NAFTA-related issues, and any stakeholders that fail to engage with their own government may find their interests ignored or compromised at the negotiations table for an updated NAFTA.