Thursday, June 28, 2018

Farmers urge suspension of tariffs on Mexico

More than 60 companies and organizations representing American dairy farmers and cheesemakers wrote an open letter to President Trump praising him for his efforts to halt Canadian dairy subsidies but asking that the administration roll back its new tariffs on Mexico "in light of that country’s constructive engagement in North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations and the harm that Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs will have on U.S. dairy’s trade with its largest and most reliable market," Morning Ag Clips reports. "The companies asked the administration to work collaboratively with Mexico and suspend the steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexican products until the negotiations for a modernized NAFTA have been concluded."

The U.S. is Mexico's biggest dairy supplier, with sales of nearly $400 million last year alone--almost one-quarter of U.S. dairy exports. That trade was duty-free, but Mexico recently added tariffs on American cheeses and other products, some of which will reach as high as 25 percent when they go into effect in July. That could hurt the nearly 3 million American jobs in the dairy industry and would also allow the European Union, which recently signed a bilateral free trade agreement with Mexico, to take some of American dairy products' market share.

"Our first four months of 2018 showed a strong expansion in the volume of U.S. dairy exports into Mexico," said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S.Dairy Export Council and former Secretary of Agriculture. "But these tariffs have introduced uncertainty and concern. A renegotiated NAFTA 2.0 would go a long way toward restoring our industry’s momentum."

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