By KELIN DILLON
On Wednesday, Jan. 12, U.S. legislators sent a letter to the head of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai protesting purported repeated infractions of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) committed by partner countries Mexico and Canada, going so far as to directly ask for intervention by U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration into the issue.
Highlighting delays and problems surrounding energy, labor, energy, pharmaceuticals and agriculture on Mexico’s end of the bargain, the letter accuses Mexico of undermining U.S. food imports by labeling them as “unhealthy,” suspending imports of U.S. energy into the country, and citing major delays in agreed-upon labor reform.
“The potential of the USMCA will not be achieved without the full implementation of the agreement as written,” read the letter, signed by Finance Committee Senators Ron Wyden and Mike Crapo.
“The USTR must be prepared to use the strong language and innovative tools of accountability that Congress asked to include in the USMCA.”
Republican leader of the Lower House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady added: “I remain concerned about the numerous measures that the governments of Canada and Mexico have adopted or proposed that seem to violate the letter of the USMCA and threaten to fundamentally alter the benefit of the deal we negotiated.”
The legislators similarly pointed out Mexico’s failures to protect its endangered species, including its rapidly dwindling vaquita porpoise population that’s at the precipice of extinction.
That very same day, the U.S. National Office for Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced it would prohibit Mexican fishermen from docking at U.S. ports in the Gulf of Mexico as of Feb. 7, claiming that the Mexican government has not done enough to prevent its vessels from illegally fishing in U.S. territory.
“The United States is committed to working together with the government of Mexico to support its actions to address the problems identified in 2019 and 2021, and is willing to reestablish privileges in U.S. ports for Mexican fishing vessels operating in the Gulf of Mexico once Mexico implements the necessary measures,” said the NOAA.