WASHINGTON – The US government announced an agreement with Canada and Mexico on May 17 to lift steel and aluminum tariffs between the three countries. The deal, which lifts 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum imposed by the US, is a key component to Congress approving the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

In return, Canada and Mexico are expected to lift retaliatory measures on US goods, including beef and pork.

“Canada and Mexico are two of our top three trading partners, and it is my expectation that they will immediately pull back their retaliatory tariffs against our agricultural products,” said US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.  “Congress should move swiftly to ratify the USMCA so American farmers can begin to benefit from the agreement.”

Several meat industry groups lauded the Trump administration for ending the tariff standoff.

“The 20 percent retaliatory tariffs on US pork imposed by Mexico as a result of the Section 232 tariffs has been particularly hard on Meat Institute members who harvest and process pork and pork products,” said Eric Mittenthal, vice president of sustainability for the North American Meat Institute. “Moreover, these tariffs have complicated our efforts to make a supportive case on behalf of the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement. The removal of these barriers will help clear the way to positive and productive conversations in Congress to pass this important trade deal. We look forward to working with the Administration, our supporters in Congress and our agricultural partners to secure a critical win for agriculture with the passage of USMCA.”

According to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), the two neighboring nations represented as much as 40 percent of the pork exported from the US in 2018.

“We thank the administration for ending a trade dispute that has placed enormous financial strain on American pork producers,” said David Herring, president of the NPPC. “Mexico’s 20 percent retaliatory tariff on US pork has cost our producers $12 per animal, or $1.5 billion on an annualized, industry-wide basis. Removing the metal tariffs restores zero-tariff trade to US pork’s largest export market and allows NPPC to focus more resources on working toward ratification of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which preserves zero-tariff trade for US pork in North America.”