By Tony Burke, Chair Campaign For Trade Union Freedom
We have TTIP, CETA, TPP (and ‘Fast Track’), TiSA and proposed neo-liberal trade deals being talked about between the EU and Japan and now Mexico and the EU are looking to do a trade deal!
The European Union and¬†Mexico¬†agreed last week¬†to launch negotiations towards a new free-trade agreement, as¬†Mexico¬†seeks to avoid being sidelined by Europe’s bigger trade deals with the United States (TTIP) and Canada (CETA).
Mexico¬†is one of the worst global offenders when it comes to attacking trade unions and workers rights, with a¬†government which promotes¬†a policy of ‘yellow unionism” – company backed unions with no teeth whose main purpose is to keep workers in check.
Workers at a number of multi-national companies have had yellow unions imposed on them or have faced brutal repression including at Honda, the Finnish company PKC, the Fiat owned Teksid, not to mention an all out war against the metal and mineworkers union Los Minero’s whose leader Napoleon Gomez was forced into exile in Canada by the Mexican Government. Napoleon was placed on Interpol’s ‘red” list but has been acquitted of all the false charges brought against him by his own country.
Under the NAFTA trade deal the US lost almost 600,000 manufacturing jobs many of them to “low cost” regions south of the US border and Mexico where trade unions face regular attacks.¬†Read more here¬†and here
US unions warned Government about the loss of jobs to Mexico – and even former Presidential candidate Ross Perot called it “a giant sucking sound”¬†as jobs went south.
The Mexican Government has been accused of vicious crackdown’s on unions and union officials including beatings and violence against trade unions such as happened this year against teachers who were organising protests related to missing student teachers.
Following the collapse of global trade talks, the world’s biggest economies are seeking to sign a patchwork of bilateral and regional deals to lift economic growth and compete with China, which the West sees as too dominant in commerce.
“With the United States and Canada being two of our biggest partners, it would be an omission not to modernise Mexico’s agreement,” Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto told a news conference after an EU-Mexico summit in Brussels.
“Mexico¬†has to align with them,” he said of the United States and Canada, with which Mexico¬†signed the North American Free Trade Agreement two decades ago.
Building on a pact with¬†Mexico¬†from 2000, the European Union hopes to add¬†Mexico¬†City to an emerging transatlantic free-trade zone. Negotiations could start at the end of the year.
Mexico¬†is also moving ahead of Brazil¬†whose talks towards a similar deal with the European Union have stalled, although efforts are being made to restart those negotiations.
As with the EU’s pact with Canada and its plans for a deal with the United States, a new accord with¬†Mexico¬†would further open up markets in services and allow businesses to bid for public tenders in each others’ countries.
Such accords go beyond trade and tariffs to integrate economies to adapt to global supply chains in which many elements from a range of countries make up a final product.
A more comprehensive deal with the European Union would allow¬†Mexico¬†to join Colombia and¬†Peru¬†in having modern trade pacts with the European Union and the United States.
Mexico¬†buys most of its goods from the United States and¬†China, but the European Union remains a way for¬†Mexico¬†to reduce its reliance on the world’s two biggest economies.
The European Union has initialled the¬†CETA deal with Canada¬†¬†that must be ratified and is negotiating with United States on TTIP, which if agreed would be the largest of its kind, encompassing almost half the world’s economic output and a third of global trade.