Mexico slaps tariffs on United States goods

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Mexico will start a dispute settlement process at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium, its economy ministry said on Monday, joining the European Union in seeking WTO involvement against the new measures.

The economy ministry said it will "initiate a dispute settlement process under the umbrella" of the WTO, and that its actions will "continue to follow the state of worldwide commercial law and will be proportional to the damage that Mexico regrettably received".

Background: Mexico's tariffs are retaliatory measures in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's 25 percent tariff on steel exports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum exports. In addition, China would buy more USA crude oil and natural gas exports to quench its thirst for energy.

Tariffs of up to 25 per cent were also imposed on steel products including plates, bars, rods and rolled steel.

Ottawa hit back with proportional C$16.6 billion (US$12.8 billion) in tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminium as well as consumer goods.

Mexico's response further raises trade tensions between the two countries and adds a new complication to efforts to renegotiate the Nafta trade deal between Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Washington's decision to impose the tariffs had lessened the chances for a successful outcome of the NAFTA talks.

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What Happened: The Mexican government announced it would impose a 20 percent tariff on USA imports of pork legs and shoulders, which accounts for some 90 percent of Mexico's annual imports of the pork cuts, Reuters reported June 4.

Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said the new tariffs would cause the U.S. losses worth about $3 billion, a sum roughly equivalent to the losses that USA tariffs were causing Mexico.

Pork legs and shoulders are not as highly valued in the United States, where ribs and bacon are in greater demand, but in Mexico they are used to make some of the country's most popular dishes, including tacos al pastor and carnitas.

Ties between Washington and Mexico City have also been strained over immigration.

The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Last year, Mexico imported almost 650,000 tonnes of pork legs and shoulders worth an estimated $1.07 billion, according to government data.

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