President Donald Trump is moving ahead with steel and aluminum tariffs on some of the United States’ closest allies and that could result in serious pain for agriculture.
Politico says any official documents released by the administration are expected to include some wiggle room for allies. European Union officials are said to be resigned to accepting that some sort of tariffs are coming their way. The EU has vowed to hit back with retaliatory tariffs. A recent list compiled by the EU targeted $3.3 billion worth of U.S. imports.
Politico says the list shows products targeted for retaliation were drafted so as not to harm European Union industries. Some of the products are clearly designed to impact Republican-leaning states, such as Kentucky bourbon. Others on the list include rice, peanut butter, orange juice, and cranberries.
Canada and Mexico aren’t immune from the tariffs either, and both countries have said they will retaliate. “It’s frankly absurd that we would in any way be considered to be a national security threat to the United States,” says Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.
Thursday the Mexican Ministry of Economy announced that in retaliation for new tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum imports, Mexico intends to impose tariffs on some U.S. pork cuts and pork products. Full details – such as the tariff rate and the exact products to which the tariffs could apply – are not entirely clear at this time. USMEF will provide more information as these details become available. In 2017, Mexico was the largest volume market for U.S. pork exports at more than 800,000 metric tons, valued at $1.51 billion.
Statement by U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom
It will be very unfortunate if U.S. pork exports to Mexico, which deliver tremendous benefits to both the U.S. supply chain and to Mexican consumers, importers, processors, retailers and restaurants, no longer enjoy duty-free access to this critical market. It is especially frustrating to see U.S. pork caught up in a dispute that has nothing whatsoever to do with pork trade. If these tariffs are implemented, they will negatively impact millions of consumers and thousands of people in the meat and livestock industries on both sides of the border. USMEF is hopeful that this impasse will be resolved as soon as possible, with duty-free access for U.S. pork maintained. This is especially important now that key competitors such as the European Union are making market access gains in Mexico and view it as a promising market for their pork products.
Canada’s Department of Finance also announced that the Canadian government intends to impose countermeasures in response to the steel and aluminum tariffs.