We Warned of USMCA Violations


Jesús Seade, Mexico’s present ambassador to China, was appointed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to lead negotiations in response to U.S. and Canadian accusations of protectionism and violation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement — accusations of favoritism for state-owned Petróleos Mexicanos and the Federal Electricity Commission.

The contents of USMCA remain a mystery. There are many opinions, but all of them end with assumptions. As the negotiator for USMCA Seade once claimed that little was known in Mexico regarding the terms of the agreement. He woke up one morning to news that the U.S. was free to send supervisors to force Mexico to comply with labor issues — basically, union rights. Soon after this hit the press in the U.S., Seade flew to Washington and ended up eating crow. He accepted the conditions of former President Donald Trump’s government.

Seade convinced Obrador that the Senate of the Republic — with a Morenista majority — should give fast-track approval of the new USMCA, which would be explained later.

The new USMCA agreement — an international treaty they could barely read, let alone analyze — received majority approval.

Now, Seade is being called upon to lead Mexico’s defense against its partners, the United States and Canada, with very little chance of success. Seade openly agreed that AMLO’s government would respect Enrique Peña Nieto’s energy reform, including contracts and constitutional changes.

On many occasions, we made it clear that the current government’s actions went against the USMCA, but we were ignored.

Juan Carlos Baker, former undersecretary of commerce and former member of the negotiating team for the treaty in the Peña Nieto administration, is optimistic that a great negotiating team will represent Mexico. Key is knowing if Seade can team up with Secretary of Economy Tatiana Clouthier, or whether, as in the past, he will prefer to work alone.

The complaint made by the U.S. and Canada is simply the culmination of a series of conservative measures. To fail to take a stand and to claim that we accept the USMCA — essentially a neoliberal treaty within a nationalist policy — is like putting the oars of the Catholic Church in the hands of Martin Luther, who is rowing in the opposite direction.

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About Patricia Simoni 108 Articles
I first edited and translated for Watching America from 2009 through 2011, recently returning and rediscovering the pleasure of working with dedicated translators and editors. Latin America is of special interest to me. In the mid-60’s, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Chile, and later lived for three years in Mexico, in the states of Oaxaca and Michoacán and in Mexico City. During those years, my work included interviewing in anthropology research, teaching at a bilingual school in the federal district, and conducting workshops in home nursing care for disadvantaged inner city women. I earned a BS degree from Wagner College, masters and doctoral degrees from WVU, and was a faculty member of the WVU School of Nursing for 27 years. In that position, I coordinated a two-year federal grant (FIPSE) at WVU for an exchange of nursing students with the University of Guanajuato, Mexico. Presently a retiree, I live in Morgantown, West Virginia, where I enjoy traditional Appalachian fiddling with friends. Working toward the mission of WA, to help those in the U.S. see ourselves as others see us, gives me a sense of purpose.

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