As reported by Reuters, Mexico is apparently set to consider a set of tariffs on $4 billion worth of US goods, specifically targeting key agricultural sectors that the country tried to avoid punishing. Mexico is studying how to minimize the pain of such a move, as the country finds itself unable to back down if the US continues to ramp-up its heavy-handed trade negotiation tactics.
Earlier this month, Mexico swiftly retaliated when Trump imposed metals tariffs, hitting dozens of American imports including steel, apples and pork. But it held back from the most lucrative class of U.S. farm products: grains, especially feed corn and soybeans, used to fatten Mexico’s cows, hogs and chickens. Imposing such tariffs would be a last-ditch option hitting at U.S. corn farmers’ top export market, and such a move would hurt Mexico’s own industry. But it has already been increasing its imports of grains from suppliers like Brazil and Argentina that could enable it to lessen the impact.
“This issue is one for phase two,” said Bosco de la Vega, who heads Mexico’s main agricultural lobby, the National Farm Council. “Intentionally, it was left for a major crisis phase,” said de la Vega. He said any move against grains would aim at the U.S. corn belt, mentioning states such as Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska, all of which voted for Trump in the 2016 election.
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