The Mexican government celebrated Thursday that the ratification of the new North American Free Trade Agreement (T-MEC) in the U.S. House of Representatives put an end to “uncertainty” regarding investments and economic growth.
“This is very good news. This agreement is beneficial for the people of Canada, for the people of the United States and for us, the Mexicans,” said Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in a video broadcast on social networks.
The president, who was following the camera vote through a computer, celebrated the “ample majority” in the approval and, raising his thumb, sentenced: “We are well and good”.
“With the approval of the T-MEC, the new stage of investment and growth for Mexico is about to begin. Uncertainty phase closes. We move forward. Good news,” said the Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard, in a message via Twitter.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved the treaty with Mexico and Canada, following an agreement last week between the Democratic opposition, which has a majority in the lower house, and the government of President Donald Trump, who negotiated the agreement.
The vote was 385 in favor and 41 against. The “no” votes were mostly from left-wing Democrats such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley.
The T-MEC, which will replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now requires a favorable vote in the U.S. Senate, where no surprises are expected since the Republicans have a majority.
On 30 November 2018, the presidents of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, the United States, Donald Trump, and Canada, Justin Trudeau, signed the T-MEC after a year of tense negotiations.
But during 2019, the U.S. Democratic opposition has kept the ratification process blocked in the lower house because of distrust in the enforcement of labor standards in Mexico.
On December 10, representatives of the three governments signed in Mexico City the final text that included some demands of the Democrats on labor issues and the origin of steel in the automotive sector.
Last weekend, controversy broke out in Mexico after the U.S. passed a secondary law related to the T-MEC that included the appointment of five inspectors to evaluate Mexico’s compliance on labor matters.
This had been a red line on the part of the Mexican government, which sent a letter of protest to U.S. Foreign Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who clarified that these personnel would not carry out inspection tasks.