Mexico responded to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs by imposing wide-ranging “equivalent” measures on farm and industrial products, the economy ministry said on Thursday, ratcheting up tensions during talks to renegotiate NAFTA.
The United States on Thursday morning said it was moving ahead with tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, ending a two-month exception and threatening to ignite a trade war.
The Mexican measures, which target pork legs, apples, grapes and cheeses as well as steel, could hit farm states that are a bastion of support for U.S. President Donald Trump, ahead of American midterm elections in November.
The Mexican measures will be in place until the U.S. government eliminates its tariffs, the ministry said.
“Mexico profoundly regrets and condemns the decision by the United States to impose these tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Mexico,” the ministry said.
“Mexico reiterates its openness to constructive dialogue with the United States, its support for the international commerce system and its rejection of unilateral protectionist measures,” it said.
Mexico buys more steel and aluminum from the United States than it sells. It is the top buyer of U.S. aluminum and the second buyer of U.S. steel, the economy ministry said.
The countermeasures will hit U.S. hot and cold rolled steel, plated steel and tubes, the ministry said.
The United States, Canada and Mexico have been renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, which governs trade between the three countries.
Reporting by Mexico City Newsroom; editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Jonathan Oatis