clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mexico Fires Back at Trump Administration with New Tariffs on American Pork, Whiskey, and Cheese

They could have devastating effects for some U.S. farmers

A pig farm in Elma, Iowa
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Following the Trump administration’s recently imposed tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum, Mexico is clapping back: Today it announced it will levy some $3 billion in tariffs on American goods, including pork, whiskey, and cheese, the New York Times reports. The tariffs are designed to restrict imports of foreign goods by making them more expensive, and thus less desirable, to shoppers.

Per the Times, Mexican officials say the list of taxed U.S. goods “was designed to hit at parts of the United States represented by high-profile Republicans,” such as steel from Indiana, the home state of Vice President Mike Pence.

Farming interest groups warn that the new tariffs could have devastating effects across numerous industries, including among pig and dairy farmers. With a 10 percent tariff on pork legs and shoulders that will increase to 20 percent in July, the pork industry looks to be hit especially hard: Mexico was the American pork industry’s second-largest export market in 2017, with $1.37 billion of pork sent to the country last year, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. The Iowa Farm Bureau estimates the tariffs could result in $100 million losses annually for the U.S. pork industry.

Of course, every cloud has at least a small silver lining: CNBC points out that the tariffs could lead to more U.S.-raised pork being sold domestically rather than being exported to Mexico, meaning lower prices on bacon and other porcine products for Americans — temporarily, at least.

The Mexican tariffs come amid mounting global trade tensions and as the Trump administration fights to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement (known as NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada. (The disagreement is totally unrelated to Trump’s neglected 2017 promise to add a 20 percent tax to Mexican imports and agricultural products to “pay for a border wall.”) In early April, China also introduced retaliatory plans to impose tariffs on numerous American-made goods, including fruit, nuts, pork, and wine. Should a current round of negotiations fall through, even more Chinese tariffs on American products could go into effect by the end of the month.

Mexico Hits U.S. With Tariffs, Escalating Global Trade Tensions [NY Times]
Trump’s Chinese Trade War Could Hit American Farmers Hard [E]