Mexico Disputes Inclusion of U.S. Labor Monitors in Trade Deal

Mexico Disputes Inclusion of U.S. Labor Monitors in Trade Deal(Bloomberg) — Mexico objected to the congressional proposal to create as many as five U.S. labor attaches to monitor implementation of the free trade deal with the U.S. and Canada.Jesus Seade, Mexico’s top trade deal negotiator, wrote to his U.S. counterpart, Robert Lighthizer, expressing “surprise and concern” over the inclusion of the labor overseers as part of the bill that ratifies the implementation of the free trade agreement, Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.“It is worrisome that through a bill, it’s intended to go beyond what is necessary to take care of the good compliance of what was negotiated between the parties,” Seade said in his letter. “We reserve the right to review the significance and effects of these provisions, which our government and people will no doubt clearly see as unnecessary.”The labor attache plan wasn’t part of the agreement signed in Mexico City by the U.S., Canada and Mexico this week, Seade said.Seade plans to travel to Washington on Sunday for talks with Lighthizer and U.S. lawmakers. Foreign officials must have the permission of Mexican authorities to take part in diplomatic duties, the ministry said, adding that there already is one U.S. attache in charge of labor topics in the country.The White House sent legislation to implement the USMCA to Congress Friday. But under U.S. trade law procedures, the bill cannot be amended. The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to report it out on Tuesday and the full House will vote on Thursday.Mexico was the first of the three nations to approve changes to the free-trade deal with the U.S. and Canada that is intended to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. The Mexican Senate approved modifications to the agreement — which didn’t include the U.S. attaches — on Thursday in a 107-1 vote.\–With assistance from Jenny Leonard.To contact the reporter on this story: Oscar Medina in Bogota at omedinacruz@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrea Jaramillo at, Ros Krasny, Steve GeimannFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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