172@29@17@243!~!172@29@0@53!~!|news|business|mexico-objects-to-labour-enforcement-provision-in-north-american-trade-deal-4731171.html!~!|controller|infinite_scroll_article.php

Network18 Presents

partnered by

  • Galaxy Note20 | 20 Ultra
Moneycontrol
Financial Freedom Offer: Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro and grab benefits worth ₹15,000/-

Network18 Presents

  • partnered by
  • Galaxy Note20 | 20 Ultra
you are here: HomeNewsBusiness
Last Updated : Dec 15, 2019 11:52 AM IST | Source: Reuters

Mexico objects to labour enforcement provision in North American trade deal

How labour disputes are handled in the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal was one of the last sticking points in the negotiations between the three countries to overhaul the agreement.

Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump

Mexico's deputy foreign minister, Jesus Seade, said on December 14 he sent a letter to the top US trade official expressing surprise and concern over a labour enforcement provision proposed by a US congressional committee in the new North American trade deal.

Top officials from Canada, Mexico and the United States on December 10 signed a fresh overhaul of a quarter-century-old deal, aiming to improve enforcement of worker rights and hold down prices for biologic drugs by eliminating a patent provision.

How labour disputes are handled in the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal was one of the last sticking points in the negotiations between the three countries to overhaul the agreement.

Close

Intense negotiations over the past week among US Democrats, the administration of Republican US President Donald Trump, and Mexico produced more stringent rules on labour rights aimed at reducing Mexico's low-wage advantage.

However, an annexe for the implementation of the treaty that was presented on Friday in the US House of Representatives proposes the designation of up to five US experts who would monitor compliance with local labour reform in Mexico.

"This provision, the result of political decisions by Congress and the Administration in the United States, was not, for obvious reasons, consulted with Mexico," Seade wrote in the letter. "And, of course, we disagree."

USMCA was signed more than a year ago to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but Democrats controlling the U.S. House of Representatives insisted on major changes to labour and environmental enforcement before voting.

The letter, released on December 14, is dated Friday and addressed to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Seade said he would travel to Washington on December 15 to raise the issues directly with Lighthizer and lawmakers.

"Unlike the rest of the provisions that are clearly within the internal scope of the United States, the provision referred to does have effects with respect to our country and therefore, should have been consulted," Seade wrote.

Both Canada and the US House Ways and Means Committee said the deal included a mechanism for verification of compliance with union rights at the factory level in Mexico by independent labour experts.

Some Mexican business groups bemoaned a lack of clarity and conflicting information on how the rules would actually be enforced under the deal, the first text of which became public only on December 11.
First Published on Dec 15, 2019 10:00 am
Sections