Mexico Throws $900 Million at Labor to Entice Democrats on USMCA

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(Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is pledging close to $1 billion to implement a law to improve labor conditions that U.S. Democrats say is key to passing a stalled North American trade accord.

Mexico’s Finance Ministry will ask lawmakers to boost the budget that was already presented to congress by $69 million for next year, Lopez Obrador stated in a letter he sent to U.S. Representative Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He promised another $830 million over the following three years to fund the labor overhaul.

The expensive pledges seem to be working, as both the White House and House Democrats are becoming increasingly upbeat about the stalled U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, known as USMCA. But AMLO’s steep austerity measures for most of his other ministries amid a stagnant economy present a challenge to his carrying out those promises.

Neal said he was very pleased with Mexico’s demonstration of good faith, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer separately told a Bloomberg Government audience on Thursday that Democrats are “working hard to get to yes.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she’s “optimistic” about finishing work on the accord, although “we are not there yet.”

AMLO, as Lopez Obrador is known, also said he’d tell the relevant authorities to carry out a “frontal attack” against labor impunity.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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