Mexico concerns about U.S. steel tariffs hang over NAFTA talks
Mexico’s trade minister will discuss the threat of U.S. steel import tariffs with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Wednesday, two sources said, adding to trade tensions during the latest push to renegotiate the NAFTA trade deal, APA reports quoting Reuters.
The meeting in Washington between Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo and Ross comes as U.S., Mexican and Canadian officials are meeting for a seventh round of negotiations to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement in Mexico City.
The NAFTA talks have been made halting progress in the past six months, though officials say a number of less controversial issues under discussion could be resolved in this round.
Trump is currently considering Commerce Department proposals to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on imports from China and elsewhere following a so-called Section 232 probe looking at whether imports of the metals threatened U.S. national security.
Guajardo flew to Washington on Tuesday, and an official said that the metal tariffs would be on the agenda as would tomatoes, another area of bilateral trade that has been dogged by disputes and subject to periodic renegotiation.
If the United States imposed steel tariffs on it, Mexico’s government would seek to retaliate, the official said - just as it vowed last month to act against a decision by Washington to slap tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels.
Trump authorized the investigations in April after U.S. steel and aluminum manufacturers complained they were being forced out of business due to excessive foreign dumping.
The Commerce Department has confirmed the talks. Ross has said he expects countries will challenge any steel tariffs at the World Trade Organization.
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