PBI-Mexico highlights concerns with the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Mexico (TLCUEM)
Photo by PODER.
On February 23, PBI-Mexico tweeted: “Today together with Mexican CSOs [civil society organizations] we attended a meeting with the delegation @EP_Trade [Committee on International Trade] of the @Europarl_ES [European Parliament] in Mexico. It was pointed out the need for any economic agreement to have clauses and instruments of guarantee and protection of human rights.”
And PODER tweeted: “The multi-million dollar lawsuits against Mexico by investors cost vital resources for the population to exercise their economic, social, cultural and environmental rights. The Global Agreement capitulates investment protection, but not human rights.”
Now, Manuel Perez Rocha further explains in La Jornada:
“Mexican civil organizations held a February 23 conversation with [Bernd] Lange [chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade] and his entourage of parliamentarians.
Representatives of Peace Brigades International (PBI), Services and Advisory for Peace (SERAPAZ) and the Project on Organization, Development, Education and Research (PODER), presented positions developed by social and civil organizations since the first TLCUEM, signed in 2000, was negotiated.
The meeting was timely, as the negotiations of the renewed TLCUEM ended in 2020 [and] although the final texts are not public, governments seek their ratification by the Senate, the European Parliament and the parliaments of the EU member countries.
PBI, SERAPAZ and PODER delivered to the MEPs [Members of the European Parliament] a document that begins by contextualizing the presidential decree in Mexico that gives preference to projects, which have European capital, that facilitate multiple human rights abuses, without citizen and indigenous consultation processes, in breach of Agreement 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
In this document they denounce how “the global agreement (with the EU) does not reflect any formula for companies to act with due diligence on human rights.”
While Mexico has ratified ILO Agreement 169, only five of the EU’s 27 member countries have done so, so the EU refuses to base its trade relations on consultations.
The organizations exposed how “the multimillion-dollar commercial demands on Mexico by investors are costing the government vital resources for the population to exercise their economic, social, cultural and environmental rights.”
After more than 25 years of failed trade policies, Mexico cannot continue on the path that, far from bringing benefits to the population as a whole, has meant the loss of millions of jobs and the destruction of territories and livelihoods as well as key economic sectors for the country.”
The full article by Perez Rocha can be read at Cuidado con incursiones europeas.
Canada’s “free trade” deals with Mexico
In 2019, the EU’s direct investment in Mexico reached $13.73 billion.
In 2020, Canadian direct investment in Mexico totalled $28.8 billion. Canada holds an estimated $8.930 billion in mining assets and $6 billion in energy assets in Mexico. The Calgary-based pipeline company TC Energy is the largest Canadian investor in Mexico.
Perez Rocha has previously highlighted that with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), “Mexico stands to remain the target of investor-state lawsuits from both the United States and Canada.”
The USMCA entered into force in July 2020, while the TPP entered into force in Mexico and Canada in December 2018.
He further cautions: “U.S. and Canadian (as well as EU) oil and gas companies have a key interest in the Mexican oil market. The strengthening of investment protections under the new agreements will lock in the reforms made by the Mexican government in 2013 allowing for the privatization of the energy sector.”
In March 2021, Sinembargo.mx further reported that: “Mexico tops the list of countries with the highest number of mining conflicts in Latin America, with a total of 58 cases, of which 29 belong to Canadian mining projects, according to the Observatory of Mining Conflicts of Latin America.”
In November 2021, Bloomberg also reported: “American and Canadian companies are ‘deeply concerned’ about Mexico’s efforts to reduce the private sector’s ability to compete in the state-dominated energy industry.” In this context, the Government of Canada has noted that Canadian investments in Mexico’s energy industry total nearly $13 billion.
We continue to follow this with concern.