Mexico, US, Canada Met to Clarify USMCA IssuesBy Sofía Hanna | Tue, 05/18/2021 - 17:10
After receiving a labor complaint involving union issues, Mexico held the first meeting of the USMCA Free Trade Commission. Among other issues, the meeting addressed the alleged serious labor violations against the rights of Mexican workers at a General Motors plant in Silao, Guanajuato.
On Monday and Tuesday this week, the first meeting of the USMCA Free Trade Commission was held. The meeting was attended by Mexico’s Minister of Economy Tatiana Clouthier, US White House Trade Representative Katherine Tai and the Canadian Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Mary Ng. The meeting was held to review labor rights at the General Motors plant in Guanajuato. But before the meeting, the Mexican Embassy in Washington sent a letter to the Department of Labor last Wednesday to denounce “the lack of labor law enforcement” in the agricultural and protein processing and packaging industries in the US, mentioned in a Forbes article. During the meeting, Tai, Ng and Clouthier discussed various topics, including labor, agriculture and energy issues, among others. According to El Financiero, the meeting was also held to outline the long-term objectives of each of the countries in the region, establish a work plan and remove the “irritants” that have arisen during the last ten months from the table. “This meeting is for the secretaries to get to know each other, discuss their long-term vision of the USMCA. How they see, not only the technical part and the irritating aspects, but also to know the vision that each country has of the North American region,” Kenneth Smith, NAFTA Chief Negotiator told El Financiero-Bloomberg. During the meeting, Tai praised Mexico’s cooperation with the US regarding the case of General Motors and made it clear that she will seek to collaborate with her Mexican counterpart to avoid a “race to the bottom” on labor rights. Smith stressed that the fact that these types of cases are being heard after the treaty has been in force for ten months is a positive sign. But it may not be easy to build a case for this incident since cases must have substantive evidence that meets all requirements to proceed to establish a panel, according to Vanguardia.