Mexican tariffs continue to impact U.S. industry

Mar 12, 2010
by WLJ

March 10 marked the oneyear anniversary of an ongoing trade dispute with Mexico that continues to put U.S. jobs at risk. The dispute began when Congress terminated funding for the U.S.-Mexico cross-border trucking pilot program in the FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act—a move which failed to meet U.S. commitments under the North American Free Trade Agreement and prompted Mexico to impose damaging retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agriculture and manufacturing goods.

“This dispute has been going on for far too long,” said Steve Foglesong, president, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “It’s time for the administration to take action before the critical relationship with our top trading partner is further compromised, putting agriculture exports and imports, and American jobs, at risk.”

Although Congress addressed the issue by removing the prohibition on the trucking program within FY10 appropriations, the administration has yet to make progress with Mexico in removing the tariffs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates as many as 25,000.U.S. jobs could be lost as a result of the impasse.

Mexico is the top export destination for U.S. beef, dairy, poultry, rice, soybean meal and oil, corn sweeteners, cotton, apples and dry edible beans. The U.S. exported a record $1.4 billion in beef and beef variety meats to Mexico in 2008, and a total of $910 million in 2009 (as a result of the economic crisis). Mexico is also a major market for pork, corn, soybeans, eggs, vegetable oils, fresh U.S. potatoes, snack foods and other consumer-oriented agricultural goods. Trucks move more than 70 percent of the value of U.S.-Mexico trade.

“Escalating trade retaliations hurt everyone,” Foglesong continued. “We live in a global society and our economy is inextricably linked to our ability to do commerce with key trading partners like Mexico.” — WLJ