3rd NAFTA round concludes

Decisive topics remain without recording greater progress

Discussions to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) continue to intensify, although negotiators have yet to reveal specific proposals for some of the hot topics.

In this round the low wages paid in Mexico became a thorny point to debate. The USA representative to negotiate the agreement, Robert Lighthizer noted that the new NAFTA should benefit all USA residents, from farmers to factory employees, as well as the “most harmed” of the trilateral agreement, such as workers, and to improve working conditions in the three countries

The United States hopes that the labor rules will be adjusted after considering that Mexico has used the low wages paid and weak trade union rules to convince companies to invest in the country.

Both the Ministry of the Economy and the private sector in Mexico have been opposed to negotiating labor issues, particularly in relation to wages, on the grounds that wages and workers’ rights are aspects that each country solves internally.

At the end of the third round, the United States representative to negotiate the agreement, Robert Ligththizer insisted that the United States will seek to reduce its trade deficit but still fails to submit a proposal on the matter at the negotiating table.

The Unifor union, the largest private initiative in Canada – which includes the automotive, energy and telecommunications industries – insisted that if Mexico did not agree to improve NAFTA labor standards, the treaty would have to be discarded.... Continue reading article here

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