Yesterday, the Mexican government made public statements to the media and dismissed the issue of tariffs imposed by the United States, separating it from previous trade conflicts.
According to La Gran Epoca, Graciela Márquez, Mexico’s secretary of economy, said during a press conference at the National Palace that the current agreements between the Mexican and U.S. economies are not framed in a “trade war” and affirmed that such tariffs are common in the rest of the world.
“It is necessary to distinguish when it is a matter of a commercial relationship and when it is protectionist,” said Marquez, referring to the compensatory quotas announced by Washington last Monday for structural steel.
The secretary of economy stated that this is a “provisional” measure implemented as a result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Commerce into a case of unfair trade carried out by Mexican companies that sell subsidized products in Mexico.
The companies that sell structural steel to the United States and on which the tariff will be imposed are Swecomex; Subsidiary of Grupo Carso; businessman Carlos Slim; Building Systems de México; Corey; Acero Technología; Construcciones Industriales Tapia; Estructuras Metálicas la Popular and Preacero Pellizzari Mexico. The measure will also affect the product shipped from China.
The report details that the tariffs will go from 0.01% to 74.02%, while the rest of the companies that send structural steel will have to pay a tax of 13.62%. El Financiero reported that the final determinations of the investigation will be announced on Nov. 19.
The newspaper specialized in economic issues explained that under the gaze of some experts in foreign trade, the measure is not related to the tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum under section 232 which was announced last year and was finally eliminated last May by the Trump administration in order to conclude a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada (USMCA), which seeks to replace the old Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Armando de Lille-Calatayud, a member of the Foreign Trade and Customs Practice Group of Baker Mackenzie, emphasized that the agreement is unrelated to the measures imposed by President Donald Trump since it originated as a result of the investigation against subsidies, which makes it a technical rather than a political procedure. “It was not a surprise, there was already a history of this investigation,” he said.
For its part, the Mexican government ratified that such measures are commonplace, since the United States has 488 similar procedures open worldwide, while Mexico carries out 342 procedures of the same type.
The Mexican secretary revealed that on Monday tariff quotas were imposed on products from Russia, China, and Brazil for unfair practices.
In that sense, Marquez said that anyway the Mexican government is focused on the issue and also has a specialized office in the United States to protect Mexican companies affected and pressure the competent authorities to resolve it.
She also explained that they are analyzing how much the recently applied tariff measure could affect and thus be able to see the results it will bring to the competitiveness of Mexican companies in the U.S. market.