MEXICO ADDS TARIFFS

Today’s Wall Street Journal reported that, “Mexico plans to impose tariffs on an expanded array of American products, from pork to pistachios, escalating a trade dispute over a U.S. ban on Mexican truckers operating north of the border.

“Mexico’s Economy Ministry said Monday it would add 26 U.S. products to its tariff list while removing 16 others. The tariffs involve a relatively small slice of U.S. exports. But by targeting products such as pork, apples and California oranges, Mexico appeared to be trying to engage powerful lobbies—and influential lawmakers—to increase pressure on the Obama administration to resolve the long-running spat.

Today’s Journal article explained that, “By adjusting the list of goods, Mexico hopes to add an element of uncertainty that might prompt U.S. exporters not directly affected by the tariffs to become more vocal against the cross-border trucking ban, Economy Minister Bruno Ferrari said.

“Mexico said the levies would now affect 54 agricultural products and 45 manufactured ones. The government is expected to publish a list of affected products this week. A Mexican official Monday said the list included pork, certain cheeses, ketchup, chewing gum, dried and fresh apples, oranges and pistachios.”

“[Pres.] Obama could end the ban on Mexican trucks without congressional approval, but that would risk an election-year backlash from unions and powerful congressional Democrats who oppose opening the borders to Mexican trucks. Instead, the administration has sought to work with Congress on a resolution to the trucking dispute,” the Journal article said.

Today’s Journal also pointed out that, “U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the administration was ‘disappointed’ in the tariffs;” and, “The National Pork Producers Council, a trade group, said the tariffs imposed by the industry’s second-biggest export market would have ‘negative economic consequences’ and criticized the U.S. government for ‘not living up to its trade obligations.’”

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