Academic journal article Canada-United States Law Journal

The Current State of Nafta

Academic journal article Canada-United States Law Journal

The Current State of Nafta

Article excerpt

Moderator: Lawrence Herman

Speaker: Jeffrey Schott

Speaker: Peter Clark

Speaker: John Magnus

PROFESSOR PETRAS: Okay. All right. Everyone, as our panelists take their seats, our next panel is going to look at the current state of NAFTA, and moderating this panel is Larry Herman.

Larry has been active with the Canada-US Law Institute for many years. He has been on our CUSLI Executive Committee since 2009. He has a graduate degree from the University of Saskatchewan and has a law degree from the University of Toronto.

He is a well-recognized and well-known international trade lawyer in Canada, and if you follow the Canadian press at all on NAFTA, chances are you've read several articles written within the past year, past six months, by Larry about the current status of NAFTA and his thoughts about it and where it should go.

He is a regular writer for various newspapers, including The Globe and Mail in Canada. He has had a very distinguished career.

In fact, if you look at his bio, it is the longest in the materials, and we have known Larry for a very long time. He is an outstanding member of our Executive Committee. He always has great ideas on what the topics should be and what speaker should be, and we are happy to have him chair this panel.

MR. HERMAN: Thank you, and thank you all. We are missing a panelist, John Magnus. His flight may have been delayed, and I am hoping that he will arrive and take his place with us.

But we are going to start without John because we have two extremely well qualified panelists, people that I think will add some important views and comments on where we are going in the NAFTA.

I was very impressed with the first panel and the high tone of the discussion. It really was excellent and serves us well in embarking on this discussion.

It was an optimistic view, and of course, when you have Democrats and Liberals and Red Tories on a panel, you are going to get an optimistic view, which is fine. We are going to take it a little bit further this morning.

Now, here on the podium is--I am going to introduce the panelists here on the podium--is Peter Clark, who is the President of Grey, Clark, Shih, an Ottawa based trade consulting firm with global reach, and Peter has had broad experience going back many, many years.

In fact, he and I first met in the days when the GATT still existed, and we were both at the Canadian Mission [to GATT] in Geneva in the '70s. But Peter has provided advice and counsel on many issues in the international trade field, both as a consultant and advisor and a litigator you might say, and his knowledge is really very deep and extensive on all of the issues we are going to discuss this morning.

With him is Jeff Schott, another friend who I've known for many years, Senior Fellow at the eminent Washington think tank, the Peterson Institute. Jeff, as well, has brought experience as a commentator, as an author, as an analyst, very knowledgeable about all aspects of international trade and highly knowledgeable about the Canada-US dimension.

And we Canadians know that often in the U.S. and in Washington the Canadian dimension may not be as appreciated as it should be, and Jeff is one of those persons who has a high degree of knowledge of the importance of the Canada-US dimension.

So we are going to talk about scenarios I think, including the possibility of no NAFTA. I mean, it is one thing to say and important to say that the relationship between Canada and the United States is so strong, that NAFTA is so important it is going to continue, and it is going to be updated and modernized.

But what I would like the panel to address and comment on is what happens if it doesn't go that way. What are the possibilities under the current situation of an updated NAFTA? Where are these negotiations likely to go, and what would happen if the President decided that the United States would issue its intention to withdraw from the NAFTA? …

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