Mexico's retaliatory tariff missing meat, poultry

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON — Meat and poultry products are not included on the list of U.S. products that will be subject to retaliatory tariffs published by the Mexican government on March 18 in the Official Diary, the American Meat Institute said. U.S. products subject to the tariffs because of the recent termination of the N.A.F.T.A. pilot program to allow Mexican trucks to operate on U.S. roads are detailed on this list.

The duties will take effect on March 19.

Among the products that will be subjected to the tariff are fruits and vegetables, juices, wines and Christmas trees. Most agricultural products will be assessed punitive import tariffs of 20%, while some other goods will be charged duties of up to 40%.

Mexico didn't specify just how long the retaliatory tariffs will remain in place, but it said it would reconsider them as soon as the U.S. comes up with a trucking program to replace the pilot program.

Because of continued concerns about the safety of Mexican trucks, the U.S. Congress eliminated funding for a pilot cross-border trucking project in the fiscal 2009 omnibus spending bill. The Mexican government argues, however, that the trucking program ban puts the U.S. in violation of N.A.F.T.A.’s cross-border trucking commitments.

President Obama called on Congress to come up with a new pilot program allowing Mexican trucks to continue transporting goods in the U.S. after Mexico threatened to slap $2.4 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods over the demise of the pilot cross-border trucking program.

Mr. Obama has asked the Transportation Department to work with the U.S. Trade Representative and State Department, along with Congress and Mexican officials, to come up with legislation creating a new cross-border trucking project.

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