WASHINGTON- In retaliation of the US tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum products, Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, signed a decree placing import tariffs on US steel and agricultural products including pork. Mexico and Nieto have also suspended the US’ preferential tariff treatment. The agricultural products listed will be subject to tariffs ranging from 15 percent to 25 percent.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) issued a release stating the punitive tariffs on unprocessed pork are 10 percent effective June 5 and will escalate to 20 percent on July 5. The tariffs do not include variety meats. The Mexican tariffs come after President Trump’s decision on May 31 to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from the European Union (EU), Mexico and Canada.

“The toll on rural America from escalating trade disputes with critically important trade partners is mounting,” said Jim Heimerl, NPPC president and a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “Mexico is US pork’s largest export market, representing nearly 25 percent of all US pork shipments last year. A 20 percent tariff eliminates our ability to compete effectively in Mexico. This is devastating to my family and pork producing families across the United States.”

Heimerl went on to voice his and the American Farmers’ support for President Trump in negotiations with Mexico, China and other countries, but also expressed concern about the present situation.

“We appreciate the variety of interests and issues the Trump administration is balancing in its trade negotiations with Mexico, China and other countries. While producers are trying to be good soldiers, we’re taking on water fast. The president has said that he would not abandon farmers. We take him at his word,” he said.

Canada and the EU agree with Mexico, and all are pursuing tariffs and cases against the US at the World Trade Organization (WTO) seeking a settlement disputing the US tariffs on steel and aluminum.