Has USMCA Hit Another Roadblock?

12:30PM Dec 05, 2019
Clinton Griffiths
( AgDay )

Efforts to get the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) through Congress may have hit a major roadblock. 

Democratic House leaders have maintained that negotiations are almost finished, but other lawmakers have expressed doubt. Mexico says the House Democrats are asking for changes that go too far. 

These include asking U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for changes that would allow Washington to challenge Mexican labor practices, including cross-border inspections at Mexican factories.

Farm Journal’s Jim Wiesemeyer is reporting Mexico's business community is rejecting the idea. Mexico's president Andrés Manuel López Obrador says his country is against those inspections but supports labor dispute panels under the trade agreement. 

Obrador said Mexico has changed its labor laws to meet new provisions of USMCA and has set aside funds in next year's budget to ensure enforcement of the new labor laws. 

AgDay’s Clinton Griffiths reports Lighthizer met with Mexican trade officials on Wednesday. Wiesemeyer wouldn't put it past Lighthizer to strike a deal over labor that both Mexico and U.S. can agree on.

“I’m not going to rule him out coming up with some type of language that will satisfy at least Mexico,” Wiesemeyer says. “And then we’ll see if it satisfies the House Democratic leadership. If that were to occur, then you can increase your odds that they just don’t want to give President Trump a political victory this calendar year.”

Still, Wiesemeyer says a deal could happen on Monday. He likened it to getting the USMCA secured with Canada. On a Friday back in September of 2018, it didn’t look like Canada would agree to the deal. The following Monday, an agreement was reached, Griffiths reports.

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