Readout of Ambassador Katherine Tai’s Roundtable with the Solidarity Center

July 08, 2021

MEXICO CITY – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai today participated in a roundtable with members of the Solidarity Center and a group of labor experts, workers, and union leaders. During the roundtable, Ambassador Tai highlighted the importance of worker rights, including the rights of women, in trade policy and the implementation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA/T-MEC/CUSMA) labor commitments. The Ambassador also listened to first-hand experiences from the attendees on the potential impact of Mexico’s labor reforms.

Before the event, Ambassador Tai delivered brief remarks along with Lauren Stewart, Regional Program Director for the Americas at the Solidarity Center, and Imelda Jimenez, a union leader.

Ambassador Tai’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:

Good morning, everyone, and thank you for being here today.  I want to thank Lauren Stewart from the Solidarity Center for joining us this morning for an important conversation with a broad group labor experts and workers. I also want to thank Imelda Jimenez, for being here today to share her first-hand experiences and perspectives on the implementation of Mexico’s historic labor reforms.

In my first few months as the U.S. Trade Representative, I have talked frequently about the need for a worker-centered trade policy.  That starts by creating an inclusive process where workers have a seat at the table as we discuss and formulate trade policy.

Last month, I visited Flint, Michigan and participated in a roundtable discussion with U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee and union workers, who shared stories about how their lives have been affected by trade - how the benefits have not been equally shared across the board.

I’m excited to hear directly from workers in Mexico – our second largest trading partner – about labor rights, and specifically, how the historic labor reforms in Mexico are being implemented.

It is fitting that we have this conversation during my visit to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the USMCA, because the protection of labor rights is a key objective of the agreement.  When I helped negotiate the USMCA, we made sure that labor organizations and workers had a seat at the table – and that their perspective and priorities were represented in the final agreement.

Through collaboration with businesses and labor organizations, we produced a better deal for workers that strengthened the labor and environmental protections and established meaningful enforcement mechanisms. Today, our priority is fully implementing the USMCA and supporting Mexico’s important labor reforms.

While we have celebrated our successes with the USMCA over the last few days, we are also taking this opportunity to look forward, and identify how we can work together to create new policies that raise wages, empower workers, and expand economic opportunity.

I am committed to an open and sustained dialogue with workers that ensures your voices, your stories, and your ideas are incorporated into trade policy. And it is critical for organizations that advocate for worker rights and engage with workers across the spectrum, such as the Solidarity Center, to have a seat at the table for these discussions.

That is what I’ve discussed with American workers – and it is what I hope to discuss with the workers at our roundtable this morning.

And now I’d welcome some thoughts from Lauren and Imelda.