Mexico Imposes Import Tariffs On US Pork, Agricultural Goods


Bottles of Kentucky bourbon at a Louisville liquor store on June 1, 2018.

Last week, the Trump administration unveiled punishing tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from the EU, Canada and Japan, among others.

And tariffs like those on Kentucky bourbon and motorcycles seem meant to hit key members of Congress where they live - namely, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the home of Harley-Davidson.

"We wanted to ensure that the issue is a top priority for key decision makers at the highest level", said another Mexican official who requested anonymity.

In April, Canada tried to address what Trump said were concerns about Chinese steel and aluminum being dumped into Canada and then being shipped into the United States.

Canada and Mexico already have retaliated against a range of US exports that include pork, bourbon and steel, and the European Union has promised to do so as well, raising the specter of a tit-for-tat escalation of protectionist measures. Mexico also slapped tariffs on US steel, as well as various farm products, including pork, cheese, apples, whiskey, cranberries, grapes and canned goods.

And Laura Dawson, director of the Canada Institute at the Wilson Center think tank in Washington, said that - despite the current drama - ties between the two countries on everything from commerce to the Stanley Cup final are strong enough to weather the storm.

The tariffs imposed Tuesday will affect just more than 1% of USA exports to Mexico.

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"If the numbers are accurate, an additional $70 billion in USA exports to China would be considerable - a 50 percent increase in US exports from 2017 levels", Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said in an email.

Washington exports apples valued at $200 million to $250 million to Mexico every year, representing 10 percent of its total market, Todd Fryhover, president of the Wenatchee-based Washington Apple Commission, said Tuesday morning. "This is devastating to my family and pork producing families across the United States".

The group says that there are 110,000 United States jobs directly tied to United States pork exports to Mexico as well as to other countries.

During a testy phone call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. president Donald Trump reportedly cited the War of 1812 in order to justify seeing Canada as a security threat.

Mexico is fighting back against President Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum. In 2017, it was the second-largest importer of USA steel and steel products, which will now face an additional 25 percent tariff, in line with what the US has imposed.

Europeans, Canadians and Mexicans buy more American goods and services than anyone else in the world. And it will put tariffs on some larger ticket items such as sailboats, washing machines, dish washers and lawn mowers.

"Mexico's retaliatory tariffs will hurt Coloradans, and the blame here lies squarely with President Trump and the Congressional Republicans who enable his destructive policies", said Jason Crow, a Democratic candidate for the state's 6th congressional district. U.S. denim, bourbon, motorcycles, peanut butter, motor boats and cigarettes will cost more in Europe as a result.