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Mexico considers tariffs on U.S. grains

Mexico considers tariffs on U.S. grains

America exports about US$4 billion of grain to Mexico each year

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A major U.S. trading partner could further target American ag exports.

Mexican officials have studied the possibility of applying tariffs on U.S. corn and soybean imports, Reuters reports. Mexico imports about US$4 billion worth of American grains annually.

The potential import tariffs on U.S. grains are in response to American levies on Mexican products.

Mexico quickly placed duties on American ag goods including pork legs, apples and cheese after the U.S. imposed tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum at the end of May.

Mexican legislators purposely left corn and soybeans off of the original tariff list during a June 4 meeting with the country’s Economy Ministry. But officials will consider adding these products if more Mexican items face additional import charges.

“This issue is one for phase two,” Bosco de la Vega, president of the Consejo Nacional Agropecuario (National Agricultural Council), told Reuters on Thursday. “Intentionally, it was left for a major crisis phase.”

Mexican tariffs to U.S. corn and soybeans would hurt U.S. producers.

Last year, America exported about 14 million tons of corn and 4 million tons of soybeans to Mexico.

Any difficulties in the supply chain would create a domino effect, said Ryan LeGrand, head of the Mexican office for the U.S. Grains Council.

“Any disruption to this critical trade through tariff or non-tariff barriers would be detrimental to U.S. farmers, Mexican livestock producers and ultimately consumers,” he told Reuters.

Other global trading partners have targeted also U.S. farm goods in retaliation for the country’s tariffs on aluminum and steel.

Canada, for example, placed 10 percent import taxes on U.S. yogurt, coffee, beef products and orange juice.

India, proposed increasing tariffs on American apples and almonds by up to 100 percent.

The European Union may consider imposing 25 percent tariffs on such American exports as kidney beans, orange juice, bourbon and tobacco.

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