Trade deals negotiated behind closed doors, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), have allowed international firms to overturn domestic environmental regulations and other laws that protect public health and safety.
In 1997, the Canadian Parliament placed public safety ahead of a company’s desire to sell its products in Canada by banning the import and interprovincial transport of the toxic gasoline additive MMT. Ethyl, the American multinational company that put the lead in leaded gasoline, claimed the Canadian import ban on MMT violated various provisions of NAFTA and sued Canada for $251 million. Canada eventually settled the case and reversed the ban on MMT.
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