WASHINGTON – The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Labor met with their counterparts in the Mexican and Canadian governments on June 29 for the first meeting of the Labor Council as established under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
Led by Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Labor Joshua Kagan and U.S. Department of Labor’s Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee, the U.S. delegation participated in a government-to-government meeting followed by a virtual public session on implementing the USMCA’s labor chapter.
“Developing a worker-centered trade policy involves giving workers a seat at the table and utilizing all of our tools to ensure that trade agreements are more than just words on paper,” said Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Joshua Kagan. “This first meeting of the USMCA Labor Council, including the public session, demonstrates our collaboration with Mexico and Canada to achieve shared goals and our commitment to holding each other accountable to the agreement.”
“The Labor Council provides an opportunity for productive discussions on important issues and support our continued strong collaboration with Mexico and Canada,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “The Council also allows the public to provide meaningful input on U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement implementation, consistent with the U.S. commitment to a worker-centered trade policy.”
During the first meeting, the Council discussed the domestic mechanisms, institutions and procedures that each party is employing to advance the fulfillment of the USMCA labor chapter’s provisions. In addition, the Council held in-depth discussions on several topics, including:
- USMCA’s requirement that each party prohibit the importation of goods into its territory from other sources produced in whole, or in part by forced or compulsory labor.
- Ongoing implementation of Mexico's recent historic labor law reform.
- Labor policies for migrant workers.
- Areas for ongoing and future cooperation and technical capacity building.
At the virtual public session, workers, employers, civil society organizations and the general public discussed matters related to the implementation of the USMCA’s labor chapter.