Mexican steel industry demands removal of US tariffs

MEXICO CITY, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Mexico's steel industry on Wednesday requested the United States to remove import tariffs on Mexican steel before the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation is completed.


Photo: Xinhua

The National Iron and Steel Industry Chamber (CANACERO) said in a press statement that the tariffs, which the United States has maintained against Mexico and other countries since June, are inappropriate and put the North American free market at risk.

"While the steel and aluminum sectors are those affected today, we must be aware that other sectors could be affected at any moment under this proposal, nullifying the benefits of the treaty," CANACERO said.

"It is imperative that the Mexican government defend its national industry and request the exclusion of Section 232 (tariffs on aluminum and steel) for Mexico before completing negotiations," it added.

In June, the United States applied 25-percent tariffs on steel imports and 10-percent on aluminum imports from Mexico, the European Union and Canada.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration used Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, claiming that the move was in the interest of national security.

According to CANACERO, Mexican exports of steel to the United States fell 37 percent in the month after the tariffs were applied. Meanwhile, exports from the United States to Mexico have been maintained.

Mexico and the United States announced Monday an agreement in principle on the renegotiation of NAFTA. A Canadian negotiating team has been looking at the agreement in Washington since Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there could be an agreement between all three countries ahead of a Friday deadline set by Trump.

Talks to rewrite NAFTA began last year at the insistence of Trump who called NAFTA the worst agreement signed by the United States. He has threatened to abandon it on several occasions.