Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna Thursday announced the creation of the NAFTA Advisory Council on the Environment.
The ten-member council constitutes of prominent Canadians from politics, law, and Indigenous groups. Its job is to focus on strengthening environmental protections in a modernized NAFTA.
The minister said Canadians understand that the economy and the environment go hand in hand. Clean air and clean water know no boundaries, and they are top priorities for Canadians, Americans, and Mexicans.
“Modernizing NAFTA to strengthen environmental protections will make us more competitive, not less. The leaders on Canada’s NAFTA Advisory Council on the Environment will advise our government on how to protect the environment, grow our economy, and promote Canadian interests,” she added.
Canada has long recognized that free and open trade and the protection of the environment go together.
When NAFTA came into effect in 1994, it was the first free-trade agreement to link the environment and trade through a historic side chapter on environmental cooperation between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.
In the more-than-three decades since, the close cooperation between these countries has led to positive environmental action across North America while their economies have grown and have become more integrated.
Canadians, Americans, and Mexicans understand that clean air, clean water, and healthy biodiversity are critical and that they are without borders. That is why it is important that we take this opportunity to modernize NAFTA and integrate strong environmental provisions into the agreement.
The market for clean-energy innovation is valued in the trillions of dollars. As the global economy moves towards cleaner growth, a strong North American trading block with robust environmental protections will attract investment, create jobs, and grow our economies.
Most Canadian clean-technology firms export, and a large portion of their revenues of 4.4 billion Canadian dollars(one Canadian dollar is about 0.79U.S. dollars) comes from exports to the U.S. and Mexico. Canada is also a key market for U.S. clean-technology exports.