Thorns continue to emerge from the free trade agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada (T-MEC) and the last one has to do with the rules of origin agreed for the automotive sector – an important source of income for Mexico. In a press conference after a working meeting in Washington, the Secretary of the Economy, Tatiana Clouthier, avoided talking about the concerns in the US about the investment climate in the energy sector and focused on the differences in interpretation that exist in Regarding the content of origin that applies to automobiles and auto parts.
During and in the days prior to the meeting between officials from the three member countries of the T-MEC, voices within the United States expressed their disagreement with the policy of the Government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. In a letter sent Tuesday, the US Congress asked President Joe Biden to address “violations” of the energy treaty, based on the Mexican government’s efforts to limit the participation of private companies in hydrocarbons and renewable energy. The following day, the US State Department published its report on the investment climate in Mexico, in which they assure that the efforts to reverse the 2014 energy reform generate uncertainty.
However, Clouthier assured that concerns about the business climate “was not an issue as such on the table with legislators” and that, as far as the energy sector is concerned, they proposed to be a “bridge” with the Ministry of Energy, which would be responsible for “explaining” and responding in this matter.
Clouthier reported that Mexico asked to review the interpretation that the United States is making of the rules of origin that were agreed for the automotive sector. The T-MEC requires that, in order not to pay tariffs, 75% of automotive production in Mexico have components produced in the North American region, an increase of 62.5% required by the previous treaty. The T-MEC also asks that 45% of this production must be built by workers who earn at least 16 dollars per hour.
“Since the treaty came into operation, both Canada and Mexico have spoken and, as a footnote comment, commented that the interpretation that was had with Ambassador Lighthizer is not what we agreed in terms of the T-MEC and we have asked that a review be made on this issue and that the interpretation is what was agreed upon, ”Clouthier said Friday. In this, he assured, the automotive sector of Canada, the Mexican and part of the United States coincide. “At this time we believe that we need more dialogue to understand what is the problem that this can cause if the interpretation continues to be that of the previous Administration.” It was Robert Lighthizer who, under the previous US Administration, headed the US delegation that negotiated the T-MEC.
In May, a complaint of alleged corruption, abuse and harassment of workers in Mexico by a “fake” union emerged as the first labor dispute between the three member countries of the T-MEC.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.