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Indigenous Chapter suggested in NAFTA talks

Indigenous Chapter suggested in NAFTA talks

Aboriginal trade experts say the creation of an Indigenous chapter in NAFTA could be a way to address long-standing concerns about mobility of tribes across the Canada-U.S. border.

The possible contents of the chapter have been the subject of meetings this week between trade officials and the Indigenous Affairs Department.

It has also been a topic of discussion between Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Indigenous leaders.

A spokesperson for the minister says the federal government is looking at how a modernized NAFTA can better address and support the ability of Indigenous people and businesses to benefit from cross-border trade.

Kahnawake Grand Chief Joseph Norton says he is pleased Ottawa is showing an openness to bringing Indigenous leaders into the trade discussions, adding he will be looking to see the extent of their involvement.

In June 2016, a Senate committee documented how some First Nations in Canada believe they should be able to freely move across the border, based on rights conferred on them by the 1794 Jay Treaty between Great Britain and the U.S.

Second round of NAFTA negotiations are expected to take place in Mexico City the first week of September.

(The Canadian Press)

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