Revving up its trade dispute with the Obama Administration over trucking, on August 16 the Mexican government announced revisions to the list of U.S. goods subject to tariffs when they are imported into Mexico.
Although Mexico will remove 16 U.S. products from the list of 89 that are currently subject to tariffs, 26 will be added for a net gain of 10. Among the new targets: U.S.-produced pork, oranges, grapefruit, apples, corn, pistachios, chewing gum, cheese, ketchup, and chocolate. The new tariffs will affect as much as $2.5 billion in annual sales by U.S. companies in 40 states.
President Obama and Congress used the fiscal year 2009 omnibus spending bill to deliver on a campaign promise to the Teamsters union by killing a pilot program that permitted a handful of trucks from Mexico access to U.S. highways. This gift to the Teamsters, however, set in motion a head-on collision with one of America’s closest trading partners that has already damaged the U.S. economy. In the months since the termination of the pilot program, President Obama has met several times with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and always says he is “hopeful” of ending the dispute. So far, it has just been lip service, and the dispute has dragged on. When it comes to the Teamsters, the Administration’s bold talk about expanding exports always seems to run out of gas.