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Mexico eyes fresh US targets for tariffs to pressure Trump over steel


MEXICO CITY: Mexico’s government threatened to slap duties on new US products in retaliation for the Trump administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs as it seeks to turn up pressure on Washington to exempt it from the measures. US President Donald Trump set tariffs of 25 per cent on imported steel and 10 per cent on aluminium last June, prompting Mexico and other trade partners to hit back. Mexico has consistently argued that the tariffs only damage commerce within North America and should be withdrawn.

Mexican Deputy Economy Minister Luz Maria de la Mora said that if the US government did not repeal the tariffs, her government would have a revamped list in its “carousel” of US targets ready in about two months. “We’re carrying out an evaluation and there are products from the agricultural sector — we’re probably going to bring in some new ones and take some others out — as well as in the industrial sector and the steel industry,” de la Mora said. The value of the goods targeted under the list would remain equivalent to the impact of the Trump tariffs, de la Mora said, estimating the damage they caused at $2.7 billion.

Mexico’s previous government retaliated almost immediately against the metal tariffs, slapping measures on agricultural goods including pork legs, apples and cheese as well as various steel products. Even if the value of the goods targeted by Mexico remained the same, swapping in new products could encourage more US businesses to lobby Washington against the tariffs. The new Mexican government of leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office in December, and de la Mora said the country would continue to reject Trump’s measures. “We should not fall into this trap,” said de la Mora, who brought years of experience working in international trade for the Mexican government to the post. — Reuters

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