July 25, 2018 / 9:31 PM / a year ago

Mexico to demand new labor standards for foreign firms: incoming foreign minister

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s next Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Wednesday that foreign companies in the country will have to meet the same human, environmental and labor rights standards as in their own countries under the incoming administration.

Speaking after a meeting between President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, Ebrard said the next government would seek to promote investment but that regulations would move into line with elsewhere.

“All companies in Mexico, from Canada, Europe or other countries, will have to meet the same environmental, labor and other rules as in their home countries,” Ebrard said.

“Because sometimes they do one thing here, and there they do another.”

He did not provide further details.

Labor rights in Mexico have been an important issue in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Most complaints center on low wages, but workers have historically struggled to organize unions that are genuinely independent.

A constitutional reform under the current government changed that, but Lopez Obrador’s team will be tasked with implementing the changes.

Canadian and Mexican officials on Wednesday insisted that NAFTA remain a trilateral pact.

Ebrard also told reporters that Canadian companies and skills could be of interest to the government to help in its plans to build a railway and other infrastructure projects in the economically poorer south of the country.

Reporting by Christine Murray and Diego Ore; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Lisa Shumaker

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