The Labor Council (the Council) of the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) met in Mexico City on June 28 and 29, 2023, to celebrate its second meeting, pursuant to Art. 23.14 of the USMCA’s Labor Chapter. The senior governmental representatives from trade and labor ministries, designated by each Party, met to address several matters within the scope of this Chapter.
The Council meeting was hosted by the Mexican Government. Undersecretary of Foreign Trade, Alejandro Encinas Nájera, and Mrs. Karime Tapia Nacar, Director General for International Trade Disciplines, from the Secretariat of Economy, and Mr. Gabriel Alejandro Tamariz Sánchez, Head of the Unit of Labor Policy and Institutional Affairs, from the Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare, led the Mexican delegation.
Mr. Rakesh Patry, Director General of International and Intergovernmental Labor Affairs, Employment and Social Development Canada, led the Canadian delegation. Ms. Thea Mei Lee, Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor, and Ms. Katy Mastman and Ms. Brenna Dougan, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representatives for Labor, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, led the U.S. delegation.
During this second Labor Council meeting, the Parties reaffirmed their full commitment to the effective implementation of the innovative and ambitious USMCA labor obligations and reiterated their desire to promote and ensure the protection of internationally recognized labor rights through laws and policies, including the promotion of the trade in goods produced in compliance with the USMCA’s Labor Chapter.
The Council discussed several topics, including: (1) key labor policies on violence and discrimination in the workplace; (2) cooperation and technical assistance projects; and (3) implementation of the USMCA’s provision related to imports produced with forced labor. The Council also exchanged views on the USMCA’s Labor Chapter implementation and conferred on further opportunities to collaborate on labor priorities as a North America Region.
The Parties expressed the importance of their continued commitment to collaboration and cooperation on the identification of enforcement against the importation of goods produced with forced labor. To that end they decided to hold a trilateral dialogue on forced labor enforcement between the corresponding authorities of the three Parties, in order to continue the exchange of information on enforcement approaches and best practices related to addressing forced labor risks in supply chains.
The second Labor Council meeting also included a public session, which was held via videoconference, on June 29. More than 200 participants connected. Through this session, the Council reported to the public on the issues discussed between the governments and provided an opportunity for workers, employers, civil society organizations, and the general public to share their views, exchange ideas, and ask questions on matters related to the implementation of the labor provisions of the USMCA.