OTTAWA – The Trudeau government is taking a mixed approach to Mexico charting its own path to economic growth, as a desire for more trade and better labour rights bumps up against mining reform and agriculture regulations that have riled Canadian firms.
Ahead of a visit this week of senior Mexican officials, Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan was in Mexico this month taking stock of the country’s growing movement to unionize, which has been undergoing major reforms with some Canadian help.
“What the Mexican government is doing is incredible,” O’Regan said in a recent interview. “I can’t imagine a society moving faster than they are.” The changes stem from the replacement for NAFTA, officially known as the Canada United States Mexico Agreement, or CUSMA, which was signed during the Trump administration in 2018.
CUSMA calls for Mexico to improve the rights of labour unions and collective bargaining, in part to counteract pressure to keep U.S. salaries low to compete with America’s southern neighbour. Those provisions have been enthusiastically taken up by the administration of Mexico’s populist centre-left president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, often known as AMLO.