Mexico is implementing its new labor reforms amid US complaints against companies operating in Mexico over allegations that workers were being denied their labor rights, according to Mexico's Secretary of the Economy, Tatiana Clouthier.
Earlier this week, Clouthier arrived to Washington DC facing several challenges - most notably Mexico's failure to comply with new USMCA labor provisions.
Secretary Clouthier told LPO that the Mexican Labor Reform, "was carried out before signing the USMCA and that part of the trade agreement now is monitoring and implementing this labor reform and comply with the new labor provisions, like freedom of association."
"The country [Mexico] was divided into three regions to begin with the implementation, it is a 180-degree change, not only in cultural matters, but also in the implementation process itself. The implementation process began last year in one region of the country, this year in another, and next year it will be implemented throughout the country" the Secretary added.
"There has also been a fundamental change on the border with the improvement of minimum wages and the outsourcing reform will improve workers' conditions."
US Trade Representative Katherine Tai has made clear that the Biden administration is committed to enforcing all trade rules to protect the rights of workers and improve worker representation in U.S. trade policy.
Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), who met with the Secretary, said that he "pressed her on Mexico doing more to respect organized labor and workers' rights south of the border."
A day before Clouthier's arrival to Washington, 20 Republican and Democrat lawmakers sent a letter to President Joe Biden expressing concerns over Mexico's "protectionist energy policy", which limits US companies' access to the country's hydrocarbon and renewable energy market.
On this issue, Clouthier said that "Chapter 7 of the USMCA does not include the electric industry."
"The agreement has mechanisms to resolve differences and we have always been open to use these mechanisms to resolve differences," she added.
In a press conference at the Mexican embassy on Friday, the Secretary shared that Mexico does not agree with the United States' interpretation of the USMCA's rules of origin, signaling another point of friction with the Biden administration.
"The US government has a different interpretation than what was negotiated initially. We have not found common ground on how to implement what the agreement says," Clouthier said. "We are having conversations at a technical level to share how the United States' interpretation is removed from what the USCMA says."
The Secretary also met with American Farm Bureau Federation President, Zippy Duvall, to discuss the use of technology to advance agriculture and the border crisis.
Duvall said he discussed recent decisions by the Mexican government "that threaten our strong trade partnership"
"I expressed the deep disappointment of America's farmers and ranchers in Mexico's decision to limit use of technologies - and food produced using such technology - that increase agriculture's sustainability and ability to meet the growing demand for food," he added. "I urged Mexico to return to a science-based approach to corn produced for both human consumption and animal feed."
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