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Mexico objects to USMCA labor provision

The United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement hit a snag over the weekend as a top Mexican official said the nation doesn’t agree with a labor provision that allows for a panel to monitor labor practices.

According to news reports, Jesús Seade, Mexico’s foreign relations department’s undersecretary and chief trade negotiator for North America, sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Saturday and planned to travel to Washington, D.C., Sunday for more discussions.

In the latest version of the trade agreement, a provision was added that creates a panel of five experts who would monitor compliance with labor rules within Mexico.

“This provision, the result of political decisions by Congress and the Administration in the United States, was not, for obvious reasons, consulted with Mexico,” Seade wrote in the letter, according to Reuters. “And, of course, we disagree.”

Labor was one of the last sticking points for the Trump Administration in getting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to support USMCA, which she did last week only hours after announcing articles of impeachment for President Trump.

The House of Representatives has a busy week with the expected impeachment vote, approval of a government spending bill, and USMCA.

CNBC reported the House Ways and Means Committee has set a USMCA bill markup for tomorrow and likely a vote in the House by Thursday.

So far, the USTR and Trump Administration hasn’t addressed the Mexican labor concerns.

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services