The U.S. imposes preliminary tariffs on Mexican steel

The U.S. Commerce Department said local producers were being harmed by steel imports from Mexico and China

The U.S. imposes preliminary tariffs on Mexican steel
Steel tariffs are not part of the USMCA – Photo: Julio Aguilar/AFP
English 09/07/2019 15:08 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City Reutera Actualizada 15:17
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On Monday, Mexico said that the U.S. countervailing duty investigation of structural steel made in Mexico was an “ordinary” anti-dumping probe and wasn’t linked to earlier tariff threats made by Donald Trump.

Nevertheless, the U.S. Commerce Department previously said domestic producers were being harmed by imports of structural steel from China and Mexico.

It also said it would instruct Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of such steel.

On Tuesday, President López Obrador said that U.S. duties on Mexican structural steel would not affect the new North American trade agreement and that it had no relation to earlier tariff threats by Trump.

“These are isolated decisions,” he said at a regular news conference, adding that he would meet with cabinet members later in the day to discuss the matter.

The Commerce Department’s action follows an investigation launched earlier this year that also included Canada. In its preliminary decision on Monday, Commerce did not impose duties on Canada.

On Monday, Mexico’s Deputy Foreign Minister for North America, Jesús Seade, said that the new duties affected only certain companies, not the steel industry as a whole and were of a much smaller scale than the earlier U.S. tariffs.

In 2018, the United States imported USD $622.4 million worth from Mexico, according to the Commerce Department.

It is alleged that the U.S. found evidence that steel from Mexico, Canada, and China entered the U.S. market with a lower price, therefore, it decided to impose preliminary tariffs depending on the country.

For now, the tariffs will only affect metallic structures used in the construction industry.

The final verdict will be issued on November 19.


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