The National Pork Producers Council says Mexico is suspending, not ending, punitive tariffs against pork and other ag goods.
NPPC spokesman Dave Warner says the U.S. and Mexico have formalized an agreement reached earlier this year to end their dispute over long-haul Mexican trucks crossing the U.S. But while $2.4-billion in punitive Mexican tariffs, including a 5% duty on must U.S. pork will end, Warner says the Mexicans could renew the tariffs later:
“We need to emphasize that the Mexican government is not eliminating the tariffs, they’re just suspending them. They just want to make sure that their trucks can continue to haul goods into the United States once the program begins.”
Warner points out the last time the U.S. had a pilot trucking program for Mexico, Congress refused to renew program funding after a year or so, inviting Mexican retaliation against U.S. ag products.
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association spokesman Mike Deering says beef escaped the tariffs but that doesn’t mean the issue isn’t important to the industry:
“Mexico is a top customer for US beef. Back in 2010, we exported $819 million worth of beef to Mexico. So, jeopardizing that relationship would be bad, bad news for cattlemen and women across the country.”
NPPC’s Warner says the pork industry hasn’t put a figure on its losses from the 5% tariff - but sales gains in Mexico were hurt:
“What we did see was a huge increase in Canadian pork exports going into Mexico once the tariff went on US pork. And the additional increase we would have had got taken by the Canadians.”
The U.S. exported almost $1-billion worth of pork to Mexico last year. The tariff to be halved this Friday has cost the pork industry almost $50-million. It will be completely suspended later this summer, when the first Mexican trucks are allowed to carry goods into the U.S.