Overall, as the text of the USMCA draft says, it appears to be a rather timid attempt to address the work deficiencies of NAFTA and other U.S. trade agreements. While the published version of the agreement will contain some innovative work-related features, it will take more than just legal friction for the USMCA to make substantial progress on labour rights in North America. Lack of labor concerns in the overall agreement As Bush pointed out, Mexican law protects a wide range of labor rights. However, in practice, they are not enforced and are regularly flouted by Mexican employers. Similarly, as a recent Human Rights Watch report shows, problems with weak labour protection enforcement for workers` rights are also evident in the United States36.36 What is probably the most innovative in labour is not in the usmCA`s draft work chapter, but in the “Rules of Origin” chapter. Appendix 4-B of this chapter provides that north American passenger cars and light and heavy trucks must have a minimum percentage of “value content” to be considered “original products,” which allows for duty-free treatment. Workers must pay a minimum of $16 per hour during the production phase chosen to meet this minimum percentage of materials, manufacturing and assembly expenses to meet the work value content requirement (Article 4-B.7 (3)a) USMCA Design). In addition, the minimum percentage of work content to be filled out for the production of these vehicles increases each year, until 2023 or three years after the effective date of this agreement. Manufacturers (i.e. automakers) must be certified annually (Article 4-B.7, para. 5 Draft USMCA). Specific technical certification and verification procedures must be defined by uniform rules that will be adopted in the future in accordance with Articles 5.10 and 5.17 of the USMCA project.
In addition, Article 4-B.8 the USMCA project, which deals with “transitions,” allows companies to opt for an “alternative staging procedure” during the first five years of the term of the agreement for a fraction of vehicle production, in which a smaller percentage of the value of the workforce would be required. It can therefore be considered a “cooling regime” for the gradual adaptation of changes to the production chain. Problems have also arisen with regard to NAALC`s relationship with national laws. NaALC obliges state parties to enforce their own labour laws and reaffirms the right of everyone to adopt their own labour standards and to change their own laws. However, it does not exclude the re-examining of the content of these standards and laws under the NAALC. Article 2 provides, for example, that state parties promote “high labour standards.” 70 In addition to authorizing ministerial consultations on all issues under the agreement, NAALC also gives NAOS the power to receive and re-examine petitions “relating to labour law issues in the territory of another contracting party.” 71 It was not on the labour side, and at the end of the claim process, the unions went home. They did not stay with partners from other Member States or worked on the definition of the labour rights agenda. The environment agreement also provided for capacity-building resources (little should be acknowledged) for bureaucrats and NGOs in member states (these resources were abandoned after only a few years).