USMCA trade on-site verifications under the spotlight


The US and Mexico agreed to include on-site labor verifications in Mexico, following discussions on final adjustments to the USMCA. An attaché of labor specialists will be authorized to check companies where the US or Canada governments believe Mexican workers are denied their rights of free association and collective agreements.

Work panels will resolve disputes between Mexico and the US, or between Mexico and Canada. No review will be established between the US and Canada. If one of the partners finds a breach of labor rights, they can request a formal evaluation. Commercial sanctions can be imposed until those breaches are corrected.

Labor inspections were one of the most criticized issues in the USMCA trade agreement in Mexico. Several labor experts expressed concern about the inspections, saying Mexico will be the country which is constantly checked and that working conditions of the three countries are impossible to make identical.

Jesús Seade, Deputy Minister of Trade Negotiations for North America and Head of the USMCA negotiations, said allowing inspectors in Mexican territory is not acceptable. “A labor attaché will monitor what is happening in Mexico. Hopefully it won’t get into specific conflicts,” Seade said to Senators.

Labor Minister Luisa María Alcalde also denied any risk for companies and investment in Mexico.