These unions have refined their expertise in compiling court proceedings, collecting and presenting evidence of work violations (including witnesses at public hearings in the United States) and the conviction of investigators of the need to investigate Mexican practices. This has greatly increased their claims with respect to advertising and the printing of pretences. This record eventually led Mexican officials to give a place at the table of reform activists in subsequent discussions on reform and, after many false starts, it now seems that a major labour reform is under way in Mexico. Therefore, while the overall approach to the UsMCA`s usMCA working chapter is far from original, there are some remarkable new features. In addition to the new language on violence against salaried workers, migrant workers and discrimination and sexual harassment, the USMCA project obliges States Parties to prohibit “the importation of goods [made] with forced or forced labour” (Article 23.6 USMCA project). In addition, new formulations help to remove ambiguities regarding the requirements for finding a breach of labour rules. In particular, the working chapter contains a definition of the phrase frequently used “in a way that affects trade and investment between contracting parties” (Articles 23.3, 23.4, 23.5 and 23.7 Project USMCA). This is particularly relevant insofar as a body has used a similar clause in a dispute between the United States and Guatemala to find that widespread and serious violations of Guatemalan labour law are not contrary to the provisions of the cafta-DR trade agreement. As has already been said elsewhere, the definition used in the USMCA project sets this threshold at a rather low level, which could facilitate the activation of relevant provisions in the future.
As negotiators from the United States, Mexico and Canada prepare to begin talks for a renegotiated NAFTA agreement, now is a good time to think about how to strengthen trilateral surveillance in important areas of labour policy and the environment. The Trump administration released its negotiating goals in July and included the goal of strengthening both labor and environmental inspection within NAFTA. NAFTA`s experience with what has worked and what has not, as well as the participation and development of civil society, has provided clear lessons. In the case of the environmental agreement, known as the North American Environmental Cooperation Agreement (NAAEC), the opportunities for civil society were different.