Seade said that was not part of the agreement signed Dec. 10 in Mexico City by Mexico, the United States and Canada to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, but was rather the product of “political decisions by the congress and administration of the United States.”
That should have been consulted with the country but was not, Seade said — “and, of course, we are not in agreement.”
Mexico says it resisted the idea of having foreign inspectors on its soil out of sovereignty principles, and that the agreement provided for panels to resolve disputes on labor and other areas. The three-person panels would comprise a person chosen by the United States, one by Mexico and a third-country person agreed upon by both countries.
Seade called the designation of labor attaches “unnecessary and redundant” and said the presence of foreign officials must be authorized by the host country.
“U.S. officials accredited at their embassy and consulates in Mexico, as a labor attache could be, may not in any case have inspection powers under Mexican law,” he added.
Seade said he sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer expressing Mexico’s “surprise and concern” over the matter and that he would travel to Washington on Sunday to convey the message personally to Lighthizer and U.S. lawmakers.
“We reserve the right to review the scope and effects of these provisions, which our government and people will no doubt clearly see as unnecessary,” Seade said the letter read. “Additionally, I advise you that Mexico will evaluate not only the measures proposed in the (bill) ... but the establishment of reciprocal mechanisms in defense of our country’s interests.”