The U.S.-Mexico long-haul trucking dispute could finally be resolved by late summer under an agreement announced by Presidents Barack Obama and Felipe Calderón last week.
Last year Mexico instituted $2.4 billion in retaliatory tariffs against U.S. exports, including pork and dairy products, because of the failure to resolve a dispute over allowing Mexican trucks and drivers to operate on long hauls in the United States.
“Our Council members have raised concerns about the possibility that corn, sorghum and distiller’s grains could become subject to these tariffs,” said Floyd Gaibler, U.S. Grains Council director of trade policy. “Hopefully, this agreement will avoid potential action against our commodities.”
Gaibler explained Mexico uses a “carousel” approach to the tariffs, periodically shifting the list of affected imports to create more pressure on U.S. decision makers.
Full details of a program to implement the announcement are expected to come later this spring, which will be released by the U.S. Department of Transportation for a 30-day public comment period.
Once a final agreement is signed – possibly as early as April or May – Mexico will reduce its tariffs by 50 percent on all affected commodities. The remaining 50 percent will be lifted when the program takes effect. U.S. administration sources indicate that could be by August.
“There will continue to be efforts by U.S. business and agricultural groups to keep pressure on the administration and Congress to make sure this agreement doesn’t get held up or delayed,” said Gaibler, noting that Mexico retains the right to reinstate the tariffs under those conditions.