Mexico is now protesting a provision tucked into the recently revised U.S. version of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that calls for the U.S. to install five new attaches in Mexico to monitor the country’s labor reform efforts.
Jesús Seade, Mexico’s chief North American negotiator, says he will be flying Sunday to Washington and expects to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. lawmakers as early as Monday to explain Mexico’s concerns in person.
Seade, in a video tweeted by the Mexican government, said Mexico was not consulted on this provision and does not agree to it. He called it unnecessary, redundant and complained that it violates Mexico’s sovereignty because the attaches would be able to perform inspections of Mexican factories.
Mexico’s new objections comes just after the Trump administration submitted the USMCA implementing language to the House on Friday and as lawmakers prepare for a potential vote on the trade pact in the last remaining legislative days of the year before Congress heads home for the holidays.
“Today’s introduction of the USMCA implementing bill in Congress is a welcome and important step in delivering the pro-growth and modern trade pact successfully negotiated by President Trump with our North American neighbors,” Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee said in a statement Friday. “Now it’s time for Congress to pass USMCA without further delay so that U.S. workers, farmers, tech workers, and local businesses can benefit from the many advantages we have won including new jobs, more customers for Made-in-America goods, and a stronger economy.”
U.S., Mexican and Canadian leaders signed off on USMCA more than a year ago, but House Democrats were not satisfied. Their primary concern was a lack of enforcement measures to make sure that Mexico followed through with promised labor reforms.
It was just last Tuesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she was satisfied with the USMCA alterations that House Democrats negotiated with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. For a week leading up to that announcement, Lighthizer was in intense talks with Seade to get Mexico’s blessing to the alterations. It was only two days before Pelosi’s announcement that Mexico tentatively agreed to the changes made to USMCA.
Mexico’s Senate ratified the altered USMCA on Thursday, before the concerns about the labor provision were made by Seade. And now he is saying that Mexico was not consulted on the provision that would install the five new U.S. officials in Mexico.
While Seade is in the U.S. this coming week, Mexico will be considering what he called legislation that contains “reciprocal measures,” presumably to install Mexican officials in the U.S. that could inspect U.S. factories.
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