By: Dr. Alejandro Díaz-Bautista, Economist (Ph.D.)
Amid the growing tensions of the tariff threat of US President Donald Trump, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has reaffirmed his support for the new T-MEC agreement or USMCA.
The prospects in the Mexican Congress are good, given the support of López Obrador, whose party controls the nation’s legislative power. The main opposition parties also want the trade agreement to be enacted. “In Mexico, the Senate and the Executive are preparing the ratification process of the North American trade agreement known as the T-MEC or USMCA during 2019,” said Dr. Alejandro Díaz Bautista, an economist and research professor at the Northern Border College (Colef ) and national researcher at the Conacyt.
After three days of tense negotiations, Mexico and the United States avoided the tariff threat after Mexico promised to stop the flows of migrants arriving at Mexico’s border with the United States. Although on Friday the news that President Donald Trump’s tariffs had been canceled was welcomed in Mexico, this week the president of the United States woke up with a series of tweets in which he revived the shadow of tariffs.
The government of Mexico agreed with the United States to evaluate in 45 days the actions agreed to halt migration and for which President Donald Trump suspended the imposition of tariffs.
President Donald Trump’s decision not to impose tariffs on Mexico eliminated an obstacle for Congress to approve its trade agreement with North America, but his administration has more work to do to soften the final stages of the agreement ratification in the United States.
Legislative working groups that legislator Pelosi appointed to negotiate with the US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, are beginning to delve into the details of how to resolve the pending concerns for Democrats.
The Democrats have pushed Mexico to quickly implement labor reforms that, among other things, would allow workers to vote for union representation with a closed vote.
Trade, in general, has become a complicated electoral and ideological issue, like Trump in his 2016 campaign denounced NAFTA as the worst example of economic globalization that has been neglected with little respect for American workers.
Trump’s position distinguishes him from free-trade Republicans, and also creates a dilemma for the Democratic candidates of 2020.
Democrats have traditionally been more skeptical than Republicans when it comes to free trade and trade liberalization.
The 2020 presidential race also reduces the time for a vote on the bill to implement the USMCA or T-MEC.
Legislators from both parties warned that approving such an agreement would be politically complicated in an election year like 2020. That means the best opportunity for a vote would be before the recess of Congress in August to avoid the typical year-end budget fights.
The president of the United States warned that the legislative organs of Mexico must approve a document on security to counteract migration or reactivate tariffs. On Monday morning, the US president issued the new warning through a series of tweets.