Mexico trade war

Robert Lighthizer tells Mexico: USMCA "attachés" are not "labor inspectors"

Robert Lighthizer
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Photo: Rodrigo Arangua/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a letter to a top Mexican trade negotiator Monday that the full-time diplomats, or attachés, designated to uphold labor standards in the version of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) sent to Congress are not "labor inspectors."

Why it matters: Mexico’s Undersecretary for North America Jesús Seade flew to Washington on Sunday to confront U.S. officials over the inclusion of language that would appoint attachés to implement labor reform in Mexico, accusing the Trump administration of blindsiding them. The intervention has thrown a wrench in the House's tentative plan to vote on the North American trade deal on Thursday.

Top negotiator accuses U.S. of blindsiding Mexico with USMCA labor provision

Jesus Seada
Jesús Seade. Photo: Pedro Gonzalez Castillo/Getty Images

A top Mexican trade negotiator traveled to Washington on Sunday to push back against U.S. officials for allegedly blindsiding Mexico with a provision to designate labor monitors as part of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: House Democrats came out in support of the USMCA last week after successfully negotiating a mechanism to ensure the enforcement of labor standards in Mexico, which had been a sticking point during trade talks. Mexico had claimed during negotiations that foreign labor inspectors would violate its sovereignty, and the three countries had instead settled on three-person panels to resolve labor disputes.