On Friday, Jesus Seade, Mexico’s trade negotiator involved in the recently-overhauled NAFTA trade agreement slammed US Democrats for their continued opposition to the new agreement, which he called “a grave communication problem.”
While the deal looks to be a major victory for President Trump’s administration, as well as trading partners across North America, Democrats have increasingly balked, indicating their willingness to potentially damage plans.
Recently, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, incensed with the outcome of the Mueller report and President Trump’s ultimate vindication, echoed sentiments coming from other party members implying her dissatisfaction with the deal.
From The Hill:
Mexico’s top trade negotiator said Friday that opposition to the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by U.S. progressives stems from a lack of understanding about recent labor reforms in the country.
“We have a grave communication problem,” Jesus Seade, undersecretary for North American affairs, told The Hill.
He said he hopes congressional Democrats can “appreciate” what Mexico’s reforms mean for labor rights throughout the continent.
“It’s a complete agenda that could have been written by the most advanced labor leader at the WTO,” he said, referring to the World Trade Organization. “It’s a revolution in Mexican labor practices.”
Mexico’s Senate this week approved a sweeping package that focuses on labor law enforcement in the country.
The move follows the successful negotiation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which includes unprecedented labor and environmental provisions and is designed to replace NAFTA.
But many Democrats on Capitol Hill argue the USMCA doesn’t provide for enforcement of the agreed-to labor standards.
“Clearly the vote [the Mexican Senate] took, the fact they did that is good for workers in Mexico, but we still have to have stronger enforcement,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
“This has been a problem in past agreements. When you don’t have the enforcement language in the same language as the trade agreement, it makes it less likely to be enforced,” said Pocan.
He added it “should be an easy lift” to add enforcement language before the USMCA is taken up by the House.
But there’s no guarantee the agreement will make it to the House floor. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at a press conference Thursday that while she wants to add pharmaceutical and environmental provisions to the trade deal, “the overarching issue is enforcement.
“You can have all the good language in the world that you want, but if you don’t have enforcement, you’re just having a conversation. You’re not having a real negotiation,” she said.
Adding new language would mean reopening negotiations, something Mexico and the Trump administration are reluctant to do. Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney recently rejected Pelosi’s demand to renegotiate the USMCA.
The USMCA cannot be implemented without congressional approval.