Mexico to take trade spat with US to WTO

Mexico City

Mexico will take its tariff dispute with the United States to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Ministry of Economy said.
In a brief statement, the ministry said Mexico will begin the process of dispute resolution at the WTO over Washington’s new steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
“Mexico believes the measures imposed by the U.S. … arguing threats to national security, violate the WTO’s Agreement on Safeguards, as well as the 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade,” the ministry said.
The latest tariffs are being justified as a national security measure designed to protect key industries, under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act.
Mexico also reiterated its intention to retaliate with equivalent tariffs on U.S. imports.
As of June 1, the U.S. imposed steep tariffs on imported steel (25 percent) and aluminum (10 percent) from the European Union as well as Mexico and Canada, partners of the United States in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
NAFTA is currently undergoing renegotiation, due to U.S. President Trump’s belief the trade deal has hampered U.S. industry and job opportunities. Mexico’s National Iron and Steel Industry Chamber (Canacero) last week said the new tariffs will cost 2 billion U.S. dollars a year.
However, Canacero also said the U.S. steel surplus with Mexico amounted to 3.6 billion U.S. dollars in the past two years, indicating the tariffs stand to have a greater negative impact on U.S. industry. Mexico’s National Aluminum Industry Chamber (Canalum) also expects the tariffs to have a greater impact in the United States, where consumers will have to pay higher prices.
In 2017, the United States received 80 percent of Mexico’s total exports, with steel representing just 2 percent, according to government figures. —Xinhua

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