Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 4-Mexico sees progress in talks to revise USMCA, says drug protections to ease

UPDATE 4-Mexico sees progress in talks to revise USMCA, says drug protections to ease

Mexico's government said on Wednesday that progress was being made toward revising a new North American trade pact and that protections for biologic drugs will be sharply reduced under it, in what would be a setback for U.S. pharmaceutical companies. Mexico approved the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) earlier this year, but U.S. ratification has been held up by Democratic lawmakers pressing the Trump administration to make changes to the deal, including on drug protections.

Following nearly four hours of talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington, Mexico's top negotiator for the USMCA, Deputy Foreign Minister Jesus Seade, said he believed a deal was closer than it had been. He told reporters there were still two or three tough questions that needed to be resolved, floating the possibility of thrashing out an accord in the coming days.

"But there are things we can't accept," he said. Among the most contentious issues under discussion is how to ensure that Mexico raises its labor standards.

Democrats have pressed to get stricter enforcement of new Mexican labor rules enshrined in the deal by proposing that inspectors supervise their implementation. Mexico has firmly rejected that proposal, although Seade said last week that tweaks could be made to how labor disputes are handled to facilitate an accord.

Separately, in a column for Mexican newspaper El Universal, Seade said "very high protection" for biologic drugs will be "eased drastically" in changes under discussion for the USMCA. Seade said he could not provide more details for now on the modifications. But U.S. Democratic lawmakers have described as a "giveaway" a provision under USMCA that would grant 10 years of data exclusivity for makers of biologic medicines, arguing that it will lead to higher prices for consumers.

Kenneth Smith, who was Mexico's principal USMCA negotiator from 2017 to 2018, told Reuters that Democrats were pressing to eliminate biologic protections for drugmakers. If the USMCA provision were simply cut, rules could revert to the considerably thinner protections of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), he said. Or, new language could be agreed as a compromise, Smith added.

Mexican business groups have bristled against the Democratic labor market plan as an attempt to make the country less attractive to investors, and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday Mexico would not accept it. In the column, Seade said there would be no inspectors.

The USMCA is due to replace NAFTA, which U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to scrap if it was not overhauled. Seade said in his column that existing flaws in NAFTA's dispute resolution mechanisms would be fixed in the adjustments currently being made to USMCA.

He told reporters in Washington he had held meetings through the weekend in Mexico with Lopez Obrador and business groups to address outstanding USMCA issues. Speaking in Mexico City, Carlos Salazar, the head of Mexico's powerful CCE business lobby, said he was hopeful that Seade could broker an agreement before Dec. 20. Failing that, there could still be a deal in early January, he said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



Hyderabad Encounter: Time to review modern judiciary and restore people’s confidence

Its probably for the first time in the history of independent India, the parliamentarians, chief ministers and ministers in the Union and State governments are openly supporting an encounter. This indicates the people from top to bottom hav...

What happens to your outstanding loans if the bank falls?

... ...

Time for a change! Innovations to stop the growing plastic pollution

As the planet is drowning in plastic pollution, many new innovative approaches and solutions have emerged to effectively deal with the menace....

How to avoid fake universities and fishing bait like Farmington

As education sharks are roaming around to prey, we present a guide on how to mitigate hunters and reach to a genuine universityinstitute. In this era of commercialization of education, the fake universities and economic frauds in educationa...


Latest News

UPDATE 2-Johnson pledges transformative Brexit as nerves are rattled by UK polls

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was nervous about his narrowing lead in opinion polls ahead of Thursdays election but pledged to deliver a transformative Brexit that will allow lower immigration. The Dec. 12 election will decid...

No gold hallmarking centres in North-East & 5 UTs: official data

There is not a single gold assaying and hallmarking centre in six northeastern states and five Union Territories while the government aims to make hallmarking mandatory for gold and jewellery from 2021, according to official data. Arunachal...

Cyberabad Police Commissioner Sajjanar's village residents celebrate police action against rape accused

The residents of Cyberabad Police Commissioner VC Sajjanars village -- Asuti -- on Sunday celebrated in support of the police action against the rape accused, who were killed in the encounter. Earlier on Friday, Dr NC Sajjan, brother of VC ...

Tree cutting for Thackeray memorial? Amruta Fadnavis dubs Sena

Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis wife Amruta on Sunday called the ruling Shiv Sena a hypocrite after media reports emerged that a memorial for the party patriarch late Bal Thackeray in Aurangabad would require felling of ...

Give Feedback