- Title: Mexico says dispute over U.S. labor attaches does not endanger trade deal
- Date: 16th December 2019
- Summary: CIUDAD JUAREZ, CHIHUAHUA - MEXICO (FILE - MARCH 3, 2017) (REUTERS) SIGN THAT READS (Spanish) "CUSTOMS, MEXICO" TRUCKS SEEN GOING THROUGH CUSTOMS' GATE TRUCKS SEEN CROSSING BRIDGE CLOSE TO BORDER EXTERIOR OF ASSEMBLY PLANT VARIOUS OF WORKERS WALKING ON PAVEMENT OUTSIDE DELPHI ASSEMBLY PLANT VARIOUS OF EMPLOYEES WORKING AT ELECTRICAL ASSEMBLY PLANT
- Embargoed: 30th December 2019 19:22
- Keywords: Canada Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard Mexico Mexico City USA nafta trade
- Location: MEXICO CITY / CIUDAD JUAREZ, CHIHUAHUA - MEXICO
- City: MEXICO CITY / CIUDAD JUAREZ, CHIHUAHUA - MEXICO
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Government/Politics,International Trade
- Reuters ID: LVA002BA87WHZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The U.S. and Mexican governments on Monday (December 16) sought to defuse a growing controversy over a U.S. plan to monitor Mexican labour standards under a new regional trade deal, with Mexico insisting it would have the final say over any U.S. officials appointed for that purpose.
Mexico, the United States and Canada on Tuesday (December 10) agreed revised terms for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the deal due to replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which underpins commerce in the region.
That same day, the U.S. Congress set out how the United States planned to send attaches south to monitor application of Mexican labour laws, which Democratic lawmakers worry are too lax and encourage companies to invest in lower-cost Mexico.
However, at the weekend the Mexican government publicly raised objections to that plan.
Speaking at a news conference, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the spat would not put the USMCA at risk, and that it would be up to Mexico whether to give accreditation to the proposed labour attaches on its territory.
"The attaches are authorized by Mexico," Ebrard told reporters. "No country can assign attaches in Mexico but us."
Critics see the labour provision as the latest in a string of concessions granted by the administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump following earlier agreements on migration and security.
The labour annex drew criticism from Jesus Seade, the Mexican official in charge of USMCA talks, who said it was not part of the accord signed by the three countries last week and that he would raise the matter in Washington this week.
The row is the latest outbreak of tensions over trade in North America triggered by Trump's decision to renegotiate NAFTA after he took office in 2017.
Concerns about the future of the North American trading arrangements have cast a shadow over the economy of Mexico, which sends about 80% of its exports to the United States.
Trump has worked to leverage Mexico's dependence on its northern neighbour to push Lopez Obrador into tightening Mexico's borders and accepting migrants seeking asylum in the United States while their cases are heard in U.S. courts.
Nevertheless, Mexico's peso dipped below 19 to the dollar during trading on Monday, reaching its strongest level against the greenback in more than five months.
(Production: Rodolfo Pena Roja)
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