As part of its commitment to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which was in part an opportunity to focus on combating forced labour, Mexico recently published a resolution aimed at prohibiting the implementation of merchandise produced with forced labour.
The agreement called for overhauls to Mexico’s laws and institutions to make its unions more democratic, and set up independent bodies to enforce the changes.
Under USMCA, each party is required to prohibit the importation of goods into its territory from other sources produced in whole or in part by forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory child labour.
This agreement comes into force in May.
The Government of Mexico, through the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS), is setting up a mechanism to receive, analyse, and deal with a request for review of merchandise allegedly produced with forced labour. Upon verification of the claim, its importation may be restricted, always in full observance of due process.
US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said Mexico had taken an “important step”, which will lead to the three USMCA partners working “more closely to eliminate forced labour from global supply chains and tackle transshipment, levelling the playing field for North American workers while protecting the most vulnerable workers around the world.”
Senate Finance Committee Chair, Ron Wyden, agreed that this was an “important step.” He said: “As the United States continues to fully enforce our own ban on forced labour, having one of our close trading partners and a major player in the automotive supply chain take similar action is critical to levelling the playing field for workers across North America.”
The US banned imports of goods produced from forced and child labour decades ago and maintains the list with regular updates. In July 2020, Canada implemented a similar ban keeping in-line with USMCA.