By RICARDO CASTILLO
On Thursday, May 30, Mexico’s Senate received from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) a request to complete the last step in the ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“This is the only missing procedure,” AMLO said during the presentation of the proposed agreement at the National Palace during his daily morning press conference, “and in a very respectful manner, because (the Senate) is an independent and autonomous branch of government, we are going to request that its members consider holding an extraordinary session in order to approve the treaty.”
AMLO was joined at the podium by Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, who said the time was ripe to seek approval in the three partnering nations because most hurdles have now been surmounted.
“The measures taken by the United States in relation to tariffs on steel (and aluminum) have been overridden,” Ebrard said. “We’re heading now for the Senate to present the full texts” of the USMCA, known in Mexico as T-MEC, which stands for the Treaty of Mexico, the United States and Canada.
Economy Secretary Graciela Márquez Colín, who was also on hand, added that for the three nations the ratification of the pact will only mean good business for all concerned.
“It is very important due to the $1.2 billion trilateral trade already underway,” she said. “The treaty guarantees better paying jobs, increased commerce and goods for the internal and external markets without tariff barriers.”
Recently Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a similar move to push for the accord’s ratification through the Canadian Parliament and it is expected that the U.S. Congress will try to pass its ratification in July. In Washington D. C., the hope is to launch thisrevamped version of the still-in-effect North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with new regulations and clarifications that make it more modern and applicable to current realities.
AMLO and Secretaries Ebrard and Márquez were joined by Mexican Undersecretary for North American Affairs Jesús Seade, who optimistically predicted full ratification by the three nations in anywhere from six months to a year’s time.
Indeed, the ratification of the new USMCA is in the interest of all three nations, and partisan politics aside, it represents a win-win-win for U.S. Mexican and Canadian businesses.
But all of the abovementioned events occurred before U.S. President Donald Trump threw a wrench into the proceedings on Friday, May 31, by declaring that he would impose new tariffs on Mexican goods unless Mexico did more to curb illegal immigration northward from Central America and the flow of illicit drugs into the United States.
Now, it is anybody’s guess what will be the next step in the trilateral efforts to pass the USMCA.
Stay tuned as we keep you posted…