Highlights from USMCA's Labor CouncilBy Alejandro Enríquez | Mon, 07/05/2021 - 21:18
For the first time, a year after formally entering into force, USMCA Labor Council held its first session online with representatives from the three-member countries. The council addressed four major topics, including "the ongoing implementation of Mexico's recent historic labor law reform," as noted by the joint statement signed by the three parties after the meeting.
"The Council held in-depth discussions on several topics, including: (1) the ongoing implementation of Mexico's recent historic labor law reform; (2) the Agreement's requirement that each Party prohibit the importation of goods into its territory from other sources produced in whole or in part by forced or compulsory labor; (3) key labor policies for migrant workers; and (4) areas for ongoing and future cooperation and technical capacity building," reads the joint statement.
Under article 23.14 of the USMCA, the council's purpose is to consider any matter within the scope of the Labor Chapter, among other functions. The event was attended by government and trade representatives on behalf of the three countries. The US’s delegation included representatives from the Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs, US Department of Labor, the Acting Assistant US Trade Representative for Labor and the Office of the US Trade Representative. Representatives from Canada included the Director General of International and Inter-government Labor Affairs, Employment and Social Development of Canada and the Director of North American Tarde Policy, Global Affairs. On behalf of Mexico, attended the Head of the Unit of Labor Policy and Institutional Affairs from the Mexican Ministry of Labor and the Director General for international Trade disciplines from the Ministry of the Economy.
USMCA Labor Council meeting comes soon after two labor complaints were filed by the US: the first against General Motors' plant in Guanajuato and the second against Tridonex, an auto part manufacturer in Tamaulipas. The ball is now in the Mexican Ministry of Labor’s court, as previously reported by MBN. In the case of Tridonex, parties concluded that there was a labor rights violations that required reparations.
In the case of GM, the Mexican Ministry of Labor has formally notified the US that a reparation should be made. According to Reuters, the Ministry confirmed the letter was sent and kicked off the process for the US and Mexican governments to develop a remediation plan in less than 10 days. Given the standards set in the USMCA, remediation could include revoking the tariff-free access for certain goods. In GM’s case, this plan could involve a 25 percent tariff for vehicles manufactured in its plant.