Sunday, December 3, 2023

Foreign Affairs official says ‘unjustified demands’ by US complicating trade deal

A foreign affairs official has criticized the United States for complicating the ratification process for the new North American trade deal by making unjustified demands.

Interviewed today at a Mexico-Canada forum in Mexico City, Jesús Seade said the United States government and Congress should instead be praising Mexico for changing its labor laws so that they are consistent with provisions set out in the trade pact known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“My concern is that as the clock ticks, they continue to make demands that are sometimes not very coordinated and certainly not at all justified. The labor reform we did is a revolution and there is great commitment on the part of the president. They should be celebrating that we’re doing something good,” he said.

“While they continue with their rounds of shadow boxing, the deadlines are approaching. If it isn’t approved before August, it will be much more complicated in the fall,” Seade added.

The foreign affairs undersecretary for North America said that “Plan B” for Mexico was to at least have the lower house of the U.S. Congress approve the USMCA within the next two and half months.

“That’s where the political difficulty is; if they approve it before the end of July, I’m happy,” Seade said.

While criticizing United States demands – which he didn’t specify – the official laid out one of Mexico’s own, reiterating that Congress will not ratify the three-way trade pact unless the U.S. withdraws its tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum which took effect on June 1 last year.

“They have to be lifted before it’s ratified . . . It’s completely incongruent but they know that,” Seade said.

Canada’s ambassador to Mexico said at today’s event that his country’s government is working closely with the López Obrador administration to convince the United States of the importance of trade relations in North America.

Pierre Alarie said there is a lot of ignorance in the United States about how beneficial trade with Mexico and Canada is to the U.S. economy, especially with regard to jobs.

“There are 15 million jobs generated in the United States because of trade with Canada and Mexico, and the Americans ought to know that,” he said.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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