Mexico retaliated against the Trump Administration last week by imposing tariffs on about $3 billion worth of American pork, steel, cheese, and other goods, according to the New York Times. This is in response to levies imposed by the Trump administration on steel and aluminum.
This tax war brings to light the increasingly strained relationship between the two countries as they work to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA.)
“These tariffs will exact immediate and painful consequences on many American farmers,” Angela Hofmann, deputy director of Farmers for Free Trade, said in a statement. “Hog, apple, potato and dairy farmers are among those suddenly facing a 10 or 20 percent tax hike on the exports they depend of for their livelihoods. Farmers need certainty and open markets to make ends meet. Right now they are getting chaos and protectionism.”
Around the same time, the Trump administration announced that they want to split discussions with Canada and Mexico and work on separate agreements rather than continue three-country discussions to rewrite the trade deal.
Larry Kudlow, President Trump’s chief economic adviser, said pursuing separate deals might allow an agreement to be reached “more rapidly,” adding: “I think that’s the key point. You know, Nafta has kind of dragged on.”
The Trump administration hit Mexico and Canada with 25 percent steel tariffs and 10 percent aluminum tariffs on June 1st in order to pressure the countries to agree to America’s demands on a revised NAFTA agreement. The U.S. also imposed metals tariffs on the European Union, Japan and other countries to try to stop the flow of imported metals. The administration believes these imports threaten national security by degrading the American industrial base.
Mr. Kudlow insisted that the president was not planning to withdraw from Nafta — which he has frequently threatened to do. However, splitting the current trilateral deal into two separate bilateral agreements would likely require nullifying the 25-year-old agreement.
Both Mexico and Canada insist they would not be willing to consider splitting the negotiations.
Read more about this story at “The New York Times.”