UH Law Center scholar discusses potential NAFTA overhaul at trade seminar

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Alfonso López de la Osa Escribano of the University of Houston Law Center, right, moderated and spoke on a panel recently at the Texas A&M University School of Law.

March 8, 2019 — Alfonso López de la Osa Escribano, director of the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law at the University of Houston Law Center, discussed a potential replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement during a symposium last week in Fort Worth.

The conference, "NAFTA 2.0: The Puzzle of North America as a Region," was presented by the Texas A&M University School of Law's Program in Global and Comparative Law.

López de la Osa Escribano, an adjunct professor at the Law Center versed on comparative law, moderated and participated in a panel titled, “The Cross-Border Labor Puzzle: Cities, Crossings and Wages.” He discussed what could be the impact of the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which was signed by all three countries on Nov. 30, 2018.

“When approaching the new USMCA, which has yet to be ratified, there is an enormous potential in terms of trade that is very positive, but one needs to pay attention to some unbalances in terms of respective domestic labor law that can exist as they can be an obstacle to trade,” López de la Osa Escribano said.

"Although the new USMCA doesn’t deal expressly with the social dimension of trade, it is interesting to highlight the acknowledgment from Canada and the U.S. of the existence of Mexico’s labor unions and related rights such as collective bargaining.”

Additional panelists were:

  • Andres Alvarez, a foreign legal consultant at Foley & Lardner LLP and a Dallas chapter board member of the Mexican Entrepreneur Association.
  • Pia Orrenius, vice president and senior economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and a senior research fellow at the SMU Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center.
  • Raymond Robertson, a professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Policy at the Texas A&M University School of Law.
  • Thomas Wilson, a partner at Vinson & Elkins and president of the State Bar of Texas International Law Section.

"I was glad to be a part in discussing a very timely topic with such a group of experts interested in U.S. Mexico relations," López de la Osa Escribano said.

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