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Mexican official floats prospect of labour tweak for trade deal

Mexican official floats prospect of labour tweak for trade deal
FILE PHOTO: Mexico's Deputy Foreign Minister for North America Jesus Seade looks on during the signing of a letter of interest to support critical energy Infrastructure in Southern Mexico, in Mexico City, Mexico November 8, 2019. REUTERS/Luis Cortes -
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LUIS CORTES(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Adjustments could be made to how labour disputes are handled in the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal to help push through its ratification in the United States, Mexican deputy foreign minister Jesus Seade said on Wednesday.

Seade, the Mexican official in charge of USMCA negotiations, told reporters the three countries were moving towards a deal. He was visiting Washington for talks with U.S. officials.

“There may be some adjustments that we can do on special treatment of labour disputes, but without going outside the normal territory of a good trade agreement,” Seade said.

He added he had a positive telephone call with Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland. The Canadian government said Freeland would also fly to Washington on Wednesday.

Freeland will meet with Seade and U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, her office said.

“We are encouraged, absolutely, by where the conversations are at this point. I don’t think she would be going down there if we were not,” said a Canadian government official, who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.

Mexico, which ratified USCMA earlier this year, has been pressing U.S. lawmakers to approve the replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement, which underpins most of Mexico’s exports and foreign investment.

(Writing by Dave Graham; Additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)

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