USMCA Labor Council meets for the first time this week

This morning in the metals news: as provided for in the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement, the USMCA Labor Council met for the first time; meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration has reported potential power disruptions this summer; and, finally, Rio Tinto declared a case of force majeure in one of its operations.

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USMCA Labor Council meets

ronniechua / Adobe Stock

The approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) included a provision for the formation of a Labor Council.

“The parties hereby establish a labor council composed of senior government officials at the ministerial level or other level of the ministries of commerce and labor, as designated by each party,” the USMCA text stipulates in article 23.14.

In addition, the parties were to convene the Labor Council no later than one year after the agreement entered into force (which it did on July 1, 2020).

“Developing a worker-centered trade policy involves giving workers a seat at the table and using all of our tools to ensure that trade deals are not just words on paper,” said Joshua Kagan, deputy representative at the United States Commerce. in a USTR statement on Wednesday. “This first meeting of the USMCA Labor Council, including the open session, demonstrates our collaboration with Mexico and Canada to achieve common goals and our commitment to hold each other accountable for the agreement.

In a joint statement, the parties said they discussed “the continued implementation of the recent landmark labor law reform in Mexico”. In addition, the joint statement states that the parties have covered:

  • The agreement’s requirement that each party prohibit the importation into its territory of goods from other sources produced in whole or in part by forced or compulsory labor
  • Main labor policies for migrant workers
  • Areas of ongoing and future cooperation and technical capacity building

Potential electrical disturbance

As temperatures rise across the country – with places like Portland, Oregon, for example, recording record high temperatures – the Energy Information Administration warns that several regions are at risk of power cuts this summer.

“The above-normal summer heat increases the demand for electricity from temperature-dependent loads, such as air conditioning, and can reduce electricity supply if power plant outages or reduced production result from problems with the heat. heat, ”the EIA noted. “Widespread heat waves can challenge grid operators and limit electricity transfers, as electricity is needed to meet local demand for electricity.

“According to the NERC assessment, power shortages could arise in the western United States, Texas, New England and parts of the Midwest.”

Rio Tinto declares force majeure to Richards Bay Minerals

Rio Tinto miner declared force majeure today at its Richards Bay Minerals operation in South Africa.

The miner mentioned security concerns.

“Rio Tinto has declared force majeure on Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) customer contracts in South Africa due to an escalating security situation in operations,” said the miner. “This led to the decision to cease operations until the safety and security situation improves.”

The site is South Africa’s largest producer of mineral sands. Richards Bay mainly produces ilmenite, rutile and zircon.

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