Novel Labour-related Clauses in a Trade Agreement: From NAFTA to USMCA

Christoph Scherrer
2020 Global Labour Journal  
The renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now called the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), contains two interesting innovations: the requirement of aminimum average wage in the manufacturing of motor vehicles (the Labour Value Content clause)and a detailed prescription for the reform of Mexican labour law. Both could serve as models forfuture labour chapters in trade agreements. The assessment contained in this article is based on theviews of those who demanded
more » ... enegotiation of the labour-related provisions of NAFTA, expertson labour rights in free trade agreements (FTAs) and ethics criteria. The assessment results in asplit picture. The labour-related provisions came about under ethically problematic circumstancesand their complexity leaves much room for criticism. Yet, the idea of inserting a wage floor in anFTA, as well as monitoring and sanctioning mechanisms for ensuring internationally recognisedlabour rights, merits further consideration for future trade agreements.KEYWORDS: globalisation; industrial relations; competitiveness; trade agreements; outsourcing
doi:10.15173/glj.v11i3.4228 fatcat:zalrbjadwbeshnrco5b7nvan2y