Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


International Studies

First Advisor

Crystal Murphy, Ph. D.

Second Advisor

Deepa Badrinarayana, S.J.D., LL.M., B.A.LL.B (Hons)

Third Advisor

Claudia Fuentes-Julio, Ph. D.


This thesis explores how the public discourse surrounding the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) negotiations affected the formulation of the free trade agreement (FTA). More specifically, the project set out to determine if North American environmental groups successfully had public concerns addressed and codified in the Environment chapter of the USMCA. By analyzing official statements made in press releases by seventeen prominent Environmental groups operating in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, the thesis provides an account of the concerns related to liberalized regional trade prior to the USMCA’s ratification in 2020. The analysis of organization statements regarding public health, climate change mitigation, corporate social responsibility, transparency and public participation, and enforcement finds a correlation between these concerns and their appearance in the USMCA text, however analysis of the agreement’s Environment chapter finds that the public concerns included in the research are vaguely contextualized, given no framework for redress, and show little more than merely being recognized in the USMCA. While the agreement’s language does reflect the salient cultural conversations around environmental affairs, and while the environmental organizations studied represented the issues well, the analysis cannot support that environmentalist groups directly affected their incorporation into the trilateral free-trade agreement.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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