The President is expected to highlight export issues in Seattle today when he speaks with small business owners at 11:40 a.m. and then makes a statement to the press. (White House schedule.)
We’d be very surprised if he does not comment on Mexico’s announcement Monday of retaliatory tariffs being imposed on additional U.S. products because the United States is violating NAFTA provisions requiring regulated cross-border trucking.
The issue is especially timely because the President follows his meeting with business owners by attending a campaign fundraiser with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), one of the most vocal critics of U.S. inaction on the issue. Murray has demanded a solution to the problem by Oct. 1.
The Mexican government has imposed its tariffs with a keen political sense, hitting U.S. farm products in states like Washington, Idaho and California, and many manufactured goods — obviously the major concern of the National Association of Manufacturers. News accounts today highlight the additional tariffs on pork and pork products. From The Des Moines Register, “Irritated Mexico increases tariffs on U.S. pork“:
Mexico added pork to a list of 99 U.S. products on which it is raising tariffs under the North American Free Trade Agreement, the National Pork Producers Council said Monday.
“Mexico’s retaliation against U.S. pork will have negative economic consequences for America’s pork producers,” said Sam Carney, a producer from Adair who is president of the pork council. “We are extremely disappointed that our top volume export market has taken this action, but we’re more disappointed that the United States is not living up to its trade obligations.”
The actual list of affected products won’t be known until its published in the government’s Official Gazette, but Bloomberg reports: “Fifty-four of the products that will be subject to tariffs will be agricultural and the rest will be manufactured goods, said the Mexican official who can’t be identified.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk expressed disappointment in a statement. The gist: We’re working on it.
The NAM’s Doug Goudie commented on Mexico’s announcement in a blog post Monday, “Cross-Border Trucking: Manufacturers Face Additional Mexican Tariffs.” Additional news coverage …
- Houston Chronicle, “Mexico jabs US over trucking with new tariffs“
- The Trucker, “With no communication about new truck program, Mexico renews tariffs“
- AP, “Mexicoslaps tariffs on US goods over trucking ban“
- Bloomberg, “Mexicoto Add Tariffs on 99 U.S. Goods Worth $2.5 Billion in Trucking Spat“
UPDATE (11:03 a.m.): Reuters has more details on U.S. goods affected:
In addition to pork, several agricultural and food items would be added to the list, including some cheeses, sweet corn, oranges, grapefruits, chewing gums, ketchup and some chocolates, an official familiar with the details said. Only one agricultural item would be removed: peanuts.
Several manufactured items would be be removed, including telephone equipment, metal furniture, certain textiles and paper products, locks and some carpets, said the official.
Note: The original post has been edited for clarity.