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Democratic Lawmakers Give USMCA Implementation a Failing Grade

Posted November 03, 2020


In a “report card” released this week on the implementation of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement since coming into effect last July, Democrats in Congress decried the lack of enforcement so far and said the administration is on the “wrong track” when it comes ensuring that the deal’s tougher labour standards are being adhered to by Mexico.
USMCA - Failing Grade
House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) criticized the Trump administration’s “lackadaisical approach” to implementing and enforcing the USMCA’s provisions, which he said was “an affront to American workers, a threat to the health of our hemisphere’s environment, and disservice to the U.S. economy.”

Last week, the top Senate Finance Democrat also accused the administration of failing to enforce key provisions of the USMCA. In an Oct. 30 letter to President Trump, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) stated that Canada and Mexico are not meeting their obligations in areas such as delivering on the promised increases in dairy market access.

Wyden also criticized the administration for a lack of clarity on new automotive rules of origin and failing to bring any action against Mexico for not meeting its implementation requirements, or to correct incidents of labour rights abuses at some individual production facilities.

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Lawmakers’ Complaints:


As outlined in their assessment, Ways and Means Democrats were specifically critical of the Trump administration’s:

  • Delayed establishment of the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force and that body’s failure to issue its first report, which is now two months overdue;
  • Slow disbursement of funds designated to promote labour reforms and worker rights in Mexico;
  • Failure to proactively monitor and enforce the USMCA’s new labour standards; and
  • Lack of utilization of resources intended to enforce the USMCA’s environmental obligations.

“The goal of this unprecedented trade agreement was to strongly protect workers and the environment and put people ahead of profit,” said Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). 

“The Trump Administration’s calculated attempts to skirt key pillars of the agreement are not just an attack on these good-faith negotiations, but also on the American people and our economy. It’s clear that we need stronger accountability around implementation of this important deal,” Blumenauer said. 

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