Mexico city, Mexico – Today, a bipartisan delegation of the House Ways and Means Committee led by Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to encourage the Mexican government to abide by its obligations under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Chairman Smith also voiced disapproval of the President’s recent comments on America’s election integrity, mischaracterizations of the state of America’s opioid epidemic, and reemphasized the delegation’s commitment to the integrity of our shared border.
The Ways and Means delegation and President López Obrador discussed the role Mexico can continue to play in reshoring key supply chains from China to North America and recognized the significance of Mexico’s recent commitment to fulfill its USMCA obligation by joining the United States in banning imports made from forced labor.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Smith (MO-08) issued the following statement after the bilateral meeting with President López Obrador:
“We appreciate President López Obrador meeting with our bipartisan delegation where we reaffirmed the importance of the longstanding partnership between our countries and its impact on American farmers and workers. U.S. crop producers and energy investors are relying on Mexico to honor its USMCA obligations and to treat U.S. biotech crops fairly. USMCA is a critical piece of the American-Mexican trading relationship and as America’s largest export market for our corn, farmers back home need to be able to export their crop. As America’s largest trading market, access to the Mexican consumer is vital for American family farmers, manufacturers, and energy producers.
“During our meeting, we reiterated to President López Obrador our shared commitment to ending cartel violence and the export of fentanyl across our border, which has harmed Mexicans and Americans alike. Recent comments about American elections are completely unacceptable and undermine our shared goals of promoting safety and encouraging peaceful trade between our nations. The delegation condemns the recent kidnapping and murder of Americans and appreciates the Mexican government’s assistance in pursuing justice for the two slain Americans. Creating a secure border will ensure our countries can continue economic cooperation that allows our citizens to thrive.”
America’s Trading Relationship with Mexico
As America’s top trading partner, ensuring fair access to the Mexican market under USMCA is critical for America’s exporters:
- In 2021, Mexico was the top export market for American dairy, wheat, poultry, dried distiller grain, and rice.
- American exports were $276.5 billion in 2021.
- Top commodity sectors for U.S. exports are machinery and mechanical appliances, oils, minerals, lime, cement, chemicals, plastics, rubber, and leather.
USMCA Wins for American Workers and Businesses
Passed by Congress with bipartisan majorities and signed into law by President Trump in 2020, USMCA has ushered in a new trade era that expands access to foreign markets and protects American workers:
- Increased the percentage of a vehicle that must be made in America to qualify for preferential access to the U.S. market.
- Strengthened protections for American workers.
- Created new rules to require Canada and Mexico to treat U.S. agricultural products fairly and in accordance with science.
USMCA Enforcement of Mexico’s Ban on American-Grown Corn
Chairman Smith and Trade Subcommittee Chair Adrian Smith (NE-03) successfully pressed the Biden Administration to take the first steps toward enforcing USMCA over Mexico’s impending ban of American-grown corn:
- February 15, 2023: Chairman Smith and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Smith wrote U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to urge the Biden Administration to ensure that Mexico abides by its obligations under the USMCA and allow American farmers to sell U.S. grown corn and other American-made agriculture products on the Mexican market.
- March 6, 2023: U.S. Trade Representative Tai announced the first step toward invoking a USMCA dispute settlement mechanism to challenge Mexico’s ban on U.S. grown corn and other American-made agriculture products.
- In 2022, American exports of corn were the largest agricultural export to Mexico at $4.92 billion.
Mexico’s Failure to Abide by USMCA Energy Provisions
Mexico has been flaunting its USMCA obligations in the energy sector, harming American businesses and North American competitiveness, as well as Mexico’s own consumers and environment.
- Mexico’s problematic measures include, but are not limited to, amendments to Mexico’s electricity law that would prioritize the distribution of Mexican-generated power over cleaner sources of energy provided by private-sector suppliers owned by U.S. companies.
- They also include numerous decisions taken by Mexico’s energy sector regulators that restrict the ability of U.S. companies to operate in Mexico, as well as to transport electricity and fuels across the border.
- Mexico’s policies have largely cut off U.S. and other foreign investment in the country’s energy infrastructure, depriving Mexicans of the innovation they need to create the right energy mix, while threatening over $10 billion in U.S. investment that has already been made.
- USMCA requested consultations under USMCA’s dispute settlement mechanism in July 2022, and for undermining American companies and U.S.-produced energy in favor of Mexico’s state-owned electrical utility.
Members of the bipartisan delegation include:
- Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08)
- Rep. Carol Miller (WV-01)
- Rep. Michelle Fischbach (MN-07)
- Rep. Beth Van Duyne (TX-24)
- Rep. Mike Carey (OH-15)
- Rep. Kelly Armstrong (ND-AL)
- Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07)
- Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-19)