Mexico hopes steel tariff dispute will end by December

18 October 2018

Mexico’s government on Wednesday said it hoped to end disputes with the United States and Canada over steel tariffs before the next Mexican administration takes office at the start of December.

Mexico and Canada have been at loggerheads with the Trump administration over the steel industry since the United States at the end of May announced tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports.

Mexico retaliated against Trump with tariffs on various U.S. products ranging from bourbon to pork. Last week Canada announced new quotas on a range of seven categories of steel, prompting a testy response from the Mexican government.

Speaking at an event in Mexico City, Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo expressed hope that Mexico could be excluded from Canadian steel tariffs, saying that “the possibility of us achieving this is not slight.”

Guajardo said he had talked with Canadian officials, and that if an agreement could be reached with Ottawa to exempt Mexican steel producers, the duties collected would be returned to the industry.

The steel dispute has hung over the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, with the three countries finally reaching a deal late last month. The three countries aim to sign the new agreement by Nov. 30.

Rogelio Garza, a deputy economy minister, speaking at the same event on Wednesday, said he expected Mexico to reach agreement with the United States and Canada over steel in the next six weeks before the new trilateral trade deal is signed.