By Sierra Juarez
TEXAS (AA) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday he is sending a letter to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seeking approval of a proposed trade deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico.
“I am going to send a letter today explaining our position and asking her for her contribution [and] her support,” Obrador said at a press conference.
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, which eliminated trade barriers between the three nations.
In 2017, about 80% of Mexico’s exports went to the U.S. The following year, the U.S. imported about $372 billion worth of goods from their southern neighbor. For this reason, the Mexican government is in favor of the trade deal.
“It would be convenient for the three nations. It’s convenient to Canada. It’s convenient to the United States. And, it’s convenient to Mexico,” he said.
To replace NAFTA, U.S. President Donald Trump needs the approval of House Democrats. But the process has slowed as talks about his possible impeachment have taken center stage. In addition, some U.S. lawmakers have raised doubts about the new agreement.
In April, a group of Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer voicing concern that Mexico will not fully hold up its end of the bargain. For example, the White House has required that Mexico improve labor rights in order to deter U.S. companies from moving to the country for cheaper labor and less restrictions.
“We question whether there is reason to believe that the new Agreement will lead to meaningful change and real improvements for labor standards in Mexico,” said the letter.
Obrador said at his press conference that he would ensure that Mexican workers have more union rights and that the country improves labor standards. He met with several U.S. House Democrats today in Mexico to discuss the USMCA.