The U.S. government said on Tuesday that it has requested its first dispute-settlement panel invoking labor rules under a trade pact with Mexico, in an effort to resolve a long-running workers’ conflict at Grupo Mexico’s San Martin mine.
The United States in June asked Mexico to review allegations of worker-rights abuses at the mine under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), but Mexico said the matter did not qualify for review under the trade deal.
In a statement, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) said it disagrees with the Mexican government’s determination.
“It is appropriate to request a panel to verify the facility’s compliance with Mexican labor laws,” the USTR said.
Companies have closely watched U.S. labor complaints play out since the 2020 start of the USMCA, which replaced NAFTA. Under the agreement, companies can be sanctioned if they fail to swiftly resolve labor complaints.
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Grupo Mexico, a top global copper producer, declined to comment. Mexico’s economy and labor ministries did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
Mexican union The Miners has argued that Grupo Mexico…