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Mexico objects to US deployment of ‘labour attaches’ on its territory to police new trade deal

MEXICO objected at the weekend to US legislation connected to a new trade deal which would deploy US “labour attachés” to its territory to monitor Mexican compliance.

Mexico, the US and Canada signed a new trade treaty on December 10 to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), which both US and Mexican trade unions had long attacked as leading to a race to the bottom on pay and standards. 

The new deal imposes “stronger labour and environmental standards,” its defenders say, and was welcomed by US trade union federation AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka.

It requires that 75 per cent of automotive components be produced within the three-nation trading bloc for cars to be sold duty-free, up from 62.5 per cent, and also stipulates that 40 per cent of the components should be made by workers earning more than $16 (£12) an hour.

But Mexico’s chief trade negotiator Jesus Seade said the US legislation appointing labour attachés “tasked with monitoring the implementation of the labour reform that is under way in our country” was not part of the agreement, but the product of “political decisions by the Congress and administration of the United States.”

Mexico says it resisted the idea of having foreign inspectors on its soil out of sovereignty principles, and that the agreement provided for panels to resolve disputes on labour and other areas.

The three-person panels would comprise a person chosen by the United States, one by Mexico and a third-country person agreed upon by both countries.

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