The NAFTA establishes a free market for trade and a comprehensive framework for investment in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Under GATT, the most evident and probable cause of conflict between water-export-control measures and trade disciplines arises under Article XI which provides:
The temporal and geographic imbalance of supply and demand has caused companies to look for water to sell internationally. When blocked by national legislation, the companies have resorted to the 1947 and 1994 General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The Canada–United States Free Trade ..
Al-Assar's presentation focused on the export of Canadian water, the issue is of global importance because the GATT applies to 142 contracting parties. The only mechanism by which the bulk-export of water could be prevented is to establish non-discriminatory conservation programs.