Democratic lawmakers in Ottawa today discussed with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the ratification of the free trade agreement between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, known as USMCA, as well as labor reforms in their southern neighbor.
Trudeau met with the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Democrat Richard Neal, and other legislators on that committee, which will review USMCA’s ratification.
The U.S. Congress’ approval of the pact, which was signed almost a year ago, has been stranded for months by resistance from the Democrats, as they want to introduce changes in the text to implement labor protection mechanisms.
Mexico is the only one of the three countries that has ratified the trade agreement. Canada has indicated that it will do so at the same time as the U.S., and today Trudeau applauded “the positive impulse” that seems to be taking place in the ratification process.
Neal assured that the speaker of the Lower House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, “is committed” to the approval of the agreement.
During the meeting, Trudeau and Neal studied “the progress made in ratifying North America’s new free trade agreement and Canada’s efforts to support labor reforms in Mexico,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
It is not usual for the Canadian prime minister to meet with the chairman of a House committee, whose interlocutor would be a minister, but with this meeting Trudeau wanted to emphasize the importance that Canada attaches to ratification of the agreement.
Following this meeting, the delegation met with the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, and other members of Trudeau’s Cabinet, such as the head of Labor, Patty Hajdu.
Hajdu traveled earlier this year to Mexico to discuss the application of labor standards in the Latin American country. In July, the minister met with her Mexican counterpart, the Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare, Luisa Maria Alcalde, to insist on labor reform.
Foreign Affairs Canada noted in a statement that Freeland’s meeting with Neal “was an opportunity to discuss the ratification process of the new USMCA and the commitment of Canada and the United States to support the implementation of important labor reforms in Mexico.