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U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, right, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal in Montreal, Canada, Jan. 29, 2018 (Canadian Press photo by Graham Hughes via AP).

The Rough Road Ahead for Ratification of NAFTA 2.0

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was elected last year after promising to tackle corruption and inequality and improve conditions for Mexican workers. So it was little surprise that one of his first acts upon taking office in late 2018 was to raise the minimum wage. AMLO, as the president is known, also had his advisers join the team renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement and encourage the acceptance of U.S. demands to embed key labor law reforms in an updated deal. The result was an annex to the labor chapter in the new NAFTA 2.0—which President Donald Trump rebranded as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA—that requires Mexico to strengthen workers’ ability to elect independent, honest unions that represent them, rather than colluding with management to suppress wages. That legislation was just passed by the Mexican Congress, and it now awaits the president’s signature.

While the labor annex did not require that Mexico pass such labor reform legislation before the USMCA could be implemented, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said earlier this month that Congress would not vote on the deal until Mexico acted. But will that be enough? ...

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