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US must ease 232 tariff on Mexico: Alacero

Nov 07, 2018 | 05:02 PM | Cartagena | Felipe Peroni

The Mexican government should adopt reciprocal trade protection measures against the United States if a solution cannot be reached on the latter's use of Section 232 import tariffs, Alacero president Máximo Vedoya said on Wednesday November 7.

Vedoya, who is also chief executive officer of Latin American steel group Ternium, believes that a deal to relieve the burden of the 25% import tariff on steel products, imposed by the US, must be reached before final approval of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that is replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).

“Theoretically, the [Section 232 tariff] is a correct measure because it addresses the problem of unfair steel imports,” Vedoya said on the sidelines of the 59th Latin American Steel Conference in Colombia. He felt that the use of the tariff should be restricted to instances where the importing nation was attempting to trade unfairly.

"Mexico should react to the tariff because its imports from the US are bigger than its exports,” he added.

He believed that Mexico should be fully exempted from the tariff but that it would be possible to negotiate with the US to reach a middle ground.

US mini-mill steelmakers urged last month that the tariff against Canada and Mexico should be replaced by another method to limit their exports to the US.

And the American Iron & Steel Institute said in October that the Section 232 tariff could be replaced by another system, such as quotas, as early as this month.