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In English, the List of U.S. Goods Hit by New Mexican Tariffs

By | Trade | No Comments

An unofficial list of goods that the Mexican government has applied new tariffs on in retaliation to Congress passing and President Obama signing the omnibus appropriations bill that ended a Mexican cross-border trucking program.

Most of the charges range from 10 to 20 percent. The notable exception is 45 percent applied to fresh grapes.

Many, many manufactured goods are included in the list. For example:

  • Manicure or pedicure preparations
  • Shampoos
  • Hair lacquers
  • Other preparations for use on the hair
  • Dentrifrices
  • Filament nylon yarn used to clean between the teeth (dental floss)
  • Other yarn used to clean between the teeth (dental floss)
  • Other preparations for oral or dental hygiene, including denture fixative pastes and powder; in individual retail packages
  • Pre‐shave, shaving or after‐shave preparations
  • Personal deodorants and antiperspirants
  • Tableware and kitchenware, of plastics
  • Other household articles and toilet articles, of plastics
  • Statuettes and other ornamental articles
  • Self‐copy paper
  • Toilet paper
  • Notebooks (exercise books)
  • Other printed books, brochures, leaflets and similar printed matter, whether or not in singles sheets
  • Other trade advertising materials

Earlier posts:

No Surprise: Mexico Slaps Tariffs on U.S. Goods Over Truck Dispute

By | Trade | 2 Comments

From Bloomberg:

March 18 (Bloomberg) — Mexico will apply tariffs of 10 percent to 45 percent on at least 90 products from the U.S. in retaliation for the U.S. scrapping a test program allowing Mexican trucks to deliver goods beyond a U.S. border zone.

The products include some fruit and vegetables, wine, juices and sunglasses, according to the online version of the State Gazette. Most tariffs are 10 percent to 20 percent, with unspecified fresh products subject to a 45 percent tariff. The tariffs, which will apply to $2.4 billion of goods, take effect tomorrow, Economy Minister Gerardo Ruiz Mateos said yesterday.

Talks to diffuse the first trade spat of President Barack Obama’s administration can’t begin until the U.S. has a Commerce Secretary, Ruiz Mateos said. Discussions to resolve the dispute will start once his counterpart is ratified, he said. Ruiz Mateos said that the trade dispute with the U.S. is hurting the region and giving an advantage to other parts of the world.

“We’re waiting to begin work,” Ruiz Mateos said. “Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate hasn’t designated our counterparts yet.”

The list of goods is here, in Spanish. We’ll post the English version as soon as it’s available. [UPDATE: Here it is.] Most do seem to be agricultural products, but there are plenty of manufactured goods too: “Rotuladores y marcadores con punta de fieltro u otra punta porosa.” Take that, Congress says to U.S. felt-tipped pen manufacturers.

Congress killed the border truck program in the omnibus appropriations bill, signed into law by President Obama.

Columnist Charles Krauthammer assessed the provisions in comments yesterday on Fox News:

There are over 6.5 million trucks in the United States. This program allows 98 Mexican trucks to roam among them. And over that, they are willing to risk a trade war with Mexico.

If you wanted to do protectionism, do it competently. Go the full Smoot-Hawley. But over 98 to enrage Mexico, to threaten to destroy NAFTA, and to show the world that the American Congress is willing to impose protectionism over trivialities at a time when the economy is hanging by a thread, where every other country is looking to see if American is going to turn protectionist.

In an editorial, the National Review notes exports to Mexico have already fallen 17.5 year-to-year, and, “The tariffs would deliver another crushing blow to exporters at the worst possible time. “

Por Favor, Mexico: Reinventing the Border Truck Program

By | Trade | No Comments

AP, “Administration to reinvent Mexican truck program“:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration will try to reinvent a program to allow Mexican trucks full access to U.S. highways.

An 18-month-old pilot program that allowed a few Mexican trucks beyond a border buffer zone died when President Barack Obama signed a sweeping $410 billion government spending bill on Wednesday. The bill barred spending on the pilot program.

A spokeswoman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Debbie Mesloh, said Obama has told the office to work with Congress, the Transportation and State departments and Mexican officials to come up with legislation to create “a new trucking project that will meet the legitimate concerns” of Congress and U.S. commitments under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

That statement presumes it was “legitimate concerns” of Congress that led to the program being killed. And presumes that you can reconcile those “concerns” with the U.S. NAFTA commitments.

But the braking force was organized labor, wasn’t it? Since the Teamsters are fundamentally opposed to NAFTA, there’s no reconciling to be had. And the United States adds more evidence to its reputation as being an unreliable trading partner.

(Hat tip: Brian Faughnan, who comments, “Mexico is within its treaty rights to retaliate, and they’re likely to begin the process before long. Without even addressing the issue, Obama has soured relations with one of our most important trading partners and energy suppliers.” Well, to be fair, the last in a long line of sour-ers.)

Protectionism, Bit by Bit, Mile by Mile

By | Labor Unions, Trade | One Comment

Daniel Griswold, trade expert at Cato, comments:

Buried in the $410 billion catch-all appropriations bill now before the U.S. Senate is a provision that would end a program that has allowed Mexican truck drivers to deliver goods to destinations inside the United States.

A provision in the original North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994 was supposed to allow U.S. and Mexican trucking companies to deliver goods in each other’s country. But opposition from the Teamsters union and old-fashioned prejudice against Mexicans has derailed implementation of the provision.

Prejudice is a strong word that implies dark motives behind populism and protectionism. Not sure it helps move the debate forward. “Anti-competition” is another, more identifiable critique. So is “unworthy, unreliable” negotiating partner.

The trouble with the anti-trucking, anti-trade policies being tacked onto an omnibus bill is that it undermines the clear intention of NAFTA and ancillary agreements (as explained by Griswold in this 2007 paper). Congress is sending this message to all potential trade partners (again): “We’ll sign an agreement, yes, but we’ll do everything to undermine its consistent application. So you’re an idiot to trust us.”

Now that’s leadership.

For the text of the provision, read below in the extended entry.

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