Dec 7, 2019

Trump halts plan to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorists

President Trump on Dec. 06 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday that the U.S. will "temporarily hold off" on designating Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations.

The big picture: Trump's vow to re-label Mexican drug cartels in November prompted Mexico's president to characterize the proposal as "interventionism." The Mexican foreign secretary said last month he got in contact with the U.S. government over the proposal. Trump added on Friday that he was halting the decision at President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's request.

Yes, but: Trump claimed that "all necessary work has been completed" to make the designation on Friday, and said "statutorily" the U.S. is "ready to do so."

Go deeper: Mexico reacts to Trump's vow to mark Mexican drug cartels as terrorists

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

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.

Go deeperArrowDec 15, 2019

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

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.

Go deeperArrowDec 16, 2019

Mexicans throw 11th hour curveball at Trump's biggest trade deal

Nancy Pelosi and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal during a news conference on the USMCA trade agreement, Dec.10. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Democrats have a "tentative plan" to vote Thursday on the trade deal President Trump negotiated with Mexico and Canada to replace NAFTA, per a senior House Democratic aide, but Mexican officials are complicating those plans.

Driving the news: "Mexico's top trade negotiator plans to return to Washington ... to express his outrage over language in the U.S. bill to implement the new North American trade agreement," Politico's Sabrina Rodriguez reports.

Go deeperArrowDec 16, 2019