Mexico put tariffs on American products ranging from steel to pork and bourbon on Tuesday, retaliating against import duties on metals imposed by President Donald Trump and taking aim at Republican strongholds ahead of US congressional elections in November.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossTrump's tariff follies: Making sense out of nonsense Trump tariffs threaten to torpedo NAFTA China: Trade deals in jeopardy if U.S. tariffs are implemented MORE issued a finding in January that steel and aluminum were being imported into the United States in such quantities as to weaken "our internal economy" and threaten the national security of the United States.
The move has also dismayed some domestic businesses, including pork producers, who now face a 20% tariff on exporting leg and shoulder to Mexico.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is now in China to talk trade.
China has offered to buy nearly US$70 billion of USA products in exchange for the removal of tariffs placed by the Trump administration against Chinese products, it was reported on Tuesday.
US pork processor Hormel Foods Corp (HRL.N) markets products in Mexico and said it will closely monitor the impact of the tariffs.
Mexico, for example, has said it will penalize USA imports including pork, apples, grapes and cheeses.
But he said even that amount "would not address the underlying, long-run concerns the United States has with China".
In Iowa, the top pork-producing state in the U.S., with Mexico as its largest market, Republican Congressman Rod Blum is seen as vulnerable.
The peso sank to its weakest in more than a year earlier Tuesday on concern the United States may leave the North America Free Trade Agreement and try to negotiate two separate free trade deals with Mexico and Canada.
Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said his country would now "surely" look to Europe for pork products, used in many traditional dishes in Mexico.
On Friday, he imposed 25 per cent tariffs on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminium imports from Mexico.
"Plans have been laid in place", he said."We'll see what happens".
"This is a really sad time for us".
For their part, the Chinese have issued a statement saying that China is willing to increase imports from other countries, "including the United States", to address the needs of the population of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It's more interesting that the Kochs are willing to put some money into their opposition to Trump's trade agenda-money that might otherwise go to Trump-supporting Republican candidacies and the parts of the president's agenda they like.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland had a blunt response to the notion that Canada could be considered a national security threat to the United States.
It was not clear whether Washington would accept the offer and whether it would be enough to avert a trade war.