Mexico approved the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)
this year, but U.S. ratification has been held up by Democratic
lawmakers, who have voiced concerns over the enforcement of
labor and environmental provisions.
"We're working hard on all the issues, it's not easy," Jesus
Seade, Mexico's top negotiator for USMCA, told reporters in
Washington, where he met with U.S. counterparts.
"I'm confident this is going to be resolved, but we're working
on it to get the best deal," Seade said, adding he had been in
touch with Canada's Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.
Steel has also emerged as a point of contention.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has made a
last-minute demand for a revised definition of what would
constitute North American steel under automotive rules of
origin, calling for steel to be "melted and poured" in North
America, according to industry sources familiar with the demand.
USMCA's auto rules of origin call for 70% of the value of steel
and aluminum used in North American autos to come from the
region. But the proposed version of the rules would allow
imported slabs, for example from Brazil or China, to meet the
standard after being rolled and processed in North America.
That would benefit U.S. and Canadian producers that operate
integrated mills making steel from iron ore.
However, the inclusion of this demand could slow down the
negotiations, said one person familiar with the talks, adding:
"This is something that could prove contentious for Mexico and
A spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative's office could not
be reached for comment.
(Reporting by David Lawder in Washington; Additional reporting
by Sharay Angulo in Mexico City; Writing by Anthony Esposito and
Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Julia Love, Daniel Wallis and
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