For better or for worse?: NAFTA's lessons for the relationship between free trade agreements and food sovereignty
LE3 .A278 2017
Bachelor of Arts
Environment & Sustainability Studies
Environmental & Sustainability Studies
This study exploreswhether free trade agreements (FTAs) are conducive or prohibitive to the implementation of food sovereignty. This investigation is conducted through a case study of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its impacts on Mexican agriculture andthe environment. It centers around two questions. First, what is the relationship between free trade agreements (FTAs) and food sovereignty? Second, in what ways did NAFTA agree or conflict with the pillars of food sovereignty in Mexico? To address these questions, I conduct a literature review of free trade theory and food sovereignty. Later, I analyze the NAFTA text and the agreement’s impacts are explored using a food sovereignty framework. Based on my findings, I conclude that the present trade model significantly inhibits the implementation of food sovereignty. This conclusion is based on four fundamental impacts of agricultural trade liberalization: 1) loss of domestic support; 2) industrialization and privatization; 3) dispossession and displacement; and 4) social and environmental "externalities.” Considering the global challenges of climate change and poverty, the discussion closes with my recommendations for the future. I argue that the feasibility of using the food sovereignty framework to develop a just, democratic and sustainable trade model is a topic worthy of further exploration.
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