Mexico will renew a 15% safeguard duty on steel imports from countries with which it doesn’t have free trade agreements, an Economy Secretariat official announced yesterday.
The safeguard measure was first put in place in October 2015 and was subsequently renewed every six months but the current government allowed it to lapse on February 1.
The decision triggered criticism from two industry groups who called the move a grave mistake.
However, industry and trade undersecretary Ernesto Acevedo said the government will renew the safeguard measure, explaining that it will take effect this week and apply to the same 186 steel products as before.
The National Chamber of the Iron and Steel Industry (Canacero) and the Confederation of Industrial Chambers (Concamin) were among a range of groups and experts who said that if the government didn’t renew the measure, there would be no chance of the United States removing the tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum imports that it introduced last year on national security grounds.
Acevedo said that the Mexican government will continue to pressure the U.S. government to lift the respective 25% and 10% tariffs, which took effect on June 1.
At a press conference, he described the duties as “an important threat to the Mexico-United States trade relationship.”
Mexico swiftly introduced its own equivalent measures on a range of United States imports including pork, cheese and apples.
Acevedo also said yesterday that the government will sign two decrees to reestablish 25% and 30% tariffs on textile and shoe imports from countries with which it doesn’t have trade pacts. The previous duties on the products expired in January.
Source: Reuters (sp)