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Mexico adds retaliatory tariffs on US imports, set to increase in July

Mexico City, Mexico — Mexico has imposed retaliatory tariffs of between 15 and 25 percent on certain US imports after US president Donald Trump imposed tariffs on Mexico.

The Ministry of Economy says the new Mexico tariffs will be placed on steel products and some agricultural goods originating in the United States explaining that Mexico has the right to impose measures that have commercial effects substantially equivalent to those adopted by the United States in accordance with Article 802 of NAFTA.

Mexico added the new tariffs after the United States imposed global tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports against Mexico, Canada and the European Union as of June 1st.

The Ministry of Economy says they set a 20 percent tariff on pork imports (15 percent tax on port sausages) as well as apples, cranberries and US potatoes, and tariffs of 20 and 25 percent on various types of cheeses and Bourbon whiskey.

Other import taxes of 25 percent will be applied to steel products such as plates, sheets, rods, tubes and wire rod.

“Mexico has been clear and Canada has been clear. The main interest is to maintain a good agreement that has been highly productive in the integration of North America. We believe that there would be a loss of value if this agreement ceased to be what it is today,” said Ildefonso Guajardo, Secretary of Economy.

The application of tariffs will be progressive for some products so that those affected in the United States can “sensitize” their president to cancel the tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Ildefonso Guajardo explained that the application of tariffs on steel from countries with whom Mexico does not have FTAs, such as Russia and China, will be maintained in order to prevent the entry of products of dubious quality.

He said that for cheeses, an initial tariff of 15 percent will be imposed to generate pressure on importers with their government and if not, 25 percent will be imposed in a month. To start, a 10 percent tariff on U.S. pork shoulder and legs will be imposed with the tariff rising to 20 percent by July 5.

Mexico has also announced a tariff-free quota of 350,000 tons of pork imports on legs and shoulders from other countries, excluding the United States to compensate for the possible lack of American pork due to the retaliatory tariffs.

Mexico is the second-largest market for US pork.

“Given the urgency of preventing the pork market from being destabilized, improving supply levels and protecting consumers, it is necessary to diversify external supply options,” said the ministry.

According to the Iowa Farm Bureau, U.S. pork farmers could lose $100 million annually due to the tariffs.