Thursday, November 30, 2023

Mexico takes metal tariffs case to World Trade Organization

Mexico will challenge the United States’ metal tariffs at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the grounds that they violate international trade rules, the government said today.

“In response to the measures the United States applied to Mexican steel and aluminum exports, Mexico announces that it will initiate a dispute settlement process under the World Trade Organization,” the Secretariat of Economy (SE) said in a statement.

The U.S. government imposed the respective 25% and 10% duties on Mexican, Canadian and European Union steel and aluminum from June 1 on national security grounds, although in the case of its North American neighbors United States Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the decision was based on a lack of progress in NAFTA talks.

The SE statement said “Mexico considers that the measures imposed by the US under section 232 of its legislation, arguing threats to its national security, violate the WTO’s Agreement on Safeguards by not having been adopted in accordance with the provided procedures.”

The tariffs also violate the 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, it added.

The announcement that Mexico will seek the intervention of the WTO in the dispute follows the government’s swift response last Thursday that it would “impose equivalent measures” on its northern neighbor.

The retaliatory tariffs target products from exporters in states that are politically important to United States President Donald Trump and include steel flats, pork and a variety of fruits and cheeses.

The tariff tit-for-tat further complicates the already contentious and drawn-out NAFTA renegotiation process but both Mexico and Canada say they remain committed to reaching a new deal that is beneficial for all three countries involved.

Trump, meanwhile, suggested Friday that NAFTA could be replaced by two separate trade accords, one with Mexico and another with Canada.

Today’s statement said that the Mexican government’s actions will continue to comply with the rules of international trade law and “will be proportional to the damage that Mexico unfortunately receives.”

Both Canada and the European Union have already filed challenges against the tariffs with the WTO.

Source: El Financiero (sp)

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