Mexico, US, Canada meet to commemorate trade agreement amid commercial tensions

Mexico, US, Canada meet to commemorate trade agreement amid commercial tensions

Mexico hosts summit with economic representatives from North America to discuss USMCA

By Jorge Antonio Rocha

MEXICO CITY (AA) - Trade authorities and economic representatives from Canada and the US met Thursday with Mexico’s Economy Secretary Raquel Buenrostro to celebrate three years of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and discuss pressing issues affecting commercial relations.

Gathering in the Mexican city of Cancun, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng joined their Mexican counterpart to hold the third meeting of the USMCA Free Trade Commission.

According to a press release by the Mexican Ministry of Economy, the meeting with Tai and a delegation from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) addressed Mexico’s nationalist energy policies, the new Mexican Mining Law, trade in the primary sector, and relevant advances in the preservation of endangered species and biodiversity in the Upper Gulf of California.

With Canada, the Mexican delegation discussed the automotive industry, controversies concerning Mexico's energy policies and its mining law.

The meeting took place amid trade tensions between the three countries, mainly stemming from issues that arose last year over the new energy policy implemented by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Last year, both the US and Canada called for a dispute panel under the USMCA over the new energy policy, which favors state-owned energy companies over private electricity generators from the US and Canada, allegedly violating the USMCA.

Following the meeting, Tai said some progress was made on the energy dispute, although concerns remain.

“If we are not able to make more progress, the next step in the formal toolkit would be the request for a dispute settlement panel," she added.

Following the US, Canada also pushed for a dispute panel last year.

The US and Mexico are also involved in a dispute over Mexico's decision to limit the use of genetically modified (GM) corn. According to the Mexican government, GM corn, which the country mainly imports from the US, poses health risks to the Mexican population.

In early June, US lawmakers urged Tai to act immediately under the USMCA to resolve what they called Mexico's discriminatory measures against GM corn.

Canada soon followed the US in filing for consultations under the USMCA with Mexico over the same issue.

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