Industry News

The United States Trade Representative Grinds the Gears of the Rapid Response Mechanism with Two New Requests for Mexico

Apr. 5, 2024
By: Hannah B. Kreinik

The Rapid Response Mechanism (“RRM”) is picking up momentum with the U.S. Trade Representative’s (“USTR”) most recent two requests to the Mexican government. The RRM is a method that the USTR has opted to use from the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement to support labor rights among the three party nations. We have been monitoring the use of the RRM with the U.S. and Mexican government (please see our most recent article on the RRM here).

These two requests come from the USTR against a steel parts facility, Servicios Industriales Gonzalez S.A. de C.V., and a mining factory, Minera Tizapa S.A. de C.V., in Mexico. The facilities are claimed to have fired employees for supporting the opposing union and lacking labor right’s powers of bargaining. In total, the USTR has initiated twenty-two requests with the Mexican government to explore the impact of labor rights on various industry factories, with an emphasis on the auto industry. In addition, the USTR estimates that 27,000 Mexican laborers have benefited from more negotiating power stemming from the use of the RRM. The USTR is also looking towards future endeavors to use the RRM in other international agreements, such as APEC, G7, G20, and in Geneva. If Mexico accepts the requests, it will have 10 days to respond to the requests and 45 days to analyze the requests.

The explosion of RRM use does not come as a surprise, nor should it be expected to end anytime soon. The practice of RRM to support labor rights can be linked to the U.S.’s dedication to workers, including ramping up forced labor efforts. Importers should not only be aware of forced and child labor, but of worker’s rights in their supply chains. Factories in a product’s production line should be reviewed for any union issues or bargaining problems. If you are concerned about your product’s production process, please reach out to a Barnes, Richardson & Colburn attorney