The US presents a list of alleged violations by Mexico to the T-MEC

(FILE PHOTO: REUTERS/Edgard Garrido)

Nine of the twelve alleged violations included in the list are allegedly ommitted by the AMLO administration. These cover topics range from labor and energy reform, to sustainable fishing and national audiovisual content quotas.

MEXICO, (January 13, 2022).- In a letter addressed to the US Trade Representative, Katherine Tai, members of the US Senate Finance Committee detailed points of commercial tension with Mexico and Canada that could result in disputes arising from the letter of the T-MEC.

“We are still concerned that Mexico and Canada continue to ignore their obligations under the T-MEC […] It is crucial that the Office of the Trade Representative [USTR] continue to diligently monitor Mexico and Canada’s compliance with the agreement and ensure that each one of the chapters is fulfilled ”, indicates the letter.

On the labor issue, US senators warned that it is necessary to continue closely monitoring the implementation of the labor reform in Mexico, adding that forced labor practices must be monitored in the country, especially in the countryside.

For the agricultural sector, legislators pointed to breaches in access to potatoes of US origin and biotech ( transgenic ) agricultural products. They further allege that the Mexican government maintains a “campaign against imported food products,” a reference to various policies to reduce the consumption of junk food.

The energy sector also emerged as a point of potential tension due to the twists in national politics brought about by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). According to the legislators, this policy seeks to unjustifiably favor state companies (Pemex and CFE) at the cost of market access and equal treatment for private companies.

In the services sector, they accused that the national audiovisual content quotas for streaming platforms contravene the letter of the T-MEC.

Other issues that plague the members of the Senate are: Mexico’s failure to comply with its sustainable fishing commitments; the possible disappearance of the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) as a regulatory entity; and the postponement of permits for the access of pharmaceutical products.

Several of the points highlighted on the list were included in the most recent USTR Trade Barriers Report, which notes other issues of potential conflict with Mexico, such as the glyphosate ban and new provisions for electronic payment services.

USA dissatisfied with trade partners

A year and a half after the implementation of the T-MEC, the US has already activated two labor disputes against Mexico and emerged victorious in a dispute resolution panel against Canada. The Mexican and Canadian governments have each called for panels against the US, and at least one more may be activated this year.

“For the time that the T-MEC has, there are already many [panels], and there are many more issues […] And what is being seen is that they are not touching the heart to activate them,” Gustavo Uruchurtu, an expert lawyer in foreign trade commented in an interview.

Although the T-MEC panels arise from disagreements among the signatories, they function as a mechanism to resolve disputes and prevent the outbreak of severe commercial retaliation.

With the World Trade Organization (WTO) practically paralyzed in the area of ​​dispute resolution, the treaty is emerging for the moment as the best option in North America to vent these disputes.

Source: El Financiero

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