U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer issued this statement on the conclusion of the 5th round of NAFTA renegotiations in Mexico City on Tuesday Nov. 21…
Washington, DC – U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today released the following statement on the conclusion of the fifth round of renegotiations in Mexico City, Mexico for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):
“While we have made progress on some of our efforts to modernize NAFTA, I remain concerned about the lack of headway. Thus far, we have seen no evidence that Canada or Mexico are willing to seriously engage on provisions that will lead to a rebalanced agreement. Absent rebalancing, we will not reach a satisfactory result.
“A rebalanced, updated NAFTA will promote greater prosperity for American workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses and strengthen the North American region as a whole. Our teams will be meeting again next month in Washington. I hope our partners will come to the table in a serious way so we can see meaningful progress before the end of the year.”
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that measures to increase Mexico’s minimum wage, a key issue of contention in the talks, have failed to impress U.S. and Canadian officials.
Mexico will raise its minimum wage to $4.71 per day next month, President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Tuesday, a 10 percent hike unlikely to satisfy U.S. and Canadian NAFTA negotiators who see low Mexican salaries as unfair competition.
Starting in December, Mexican workers will earn at least 88.36 pesos ($4.71) per day, up from 80.04 pesos.
During the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico has come under criticism for poor worker conditions, which the United States and Canada say allow it to benefit disproportionately from the pact.
Along the border, U.S. average wages are about five times higher than Mexican wages, one of the largest per capita wage differentials of any land border on the planet.
TYT Newsroom with information from reuters.com and U.S. Trade Representative press release