Market News & Headlines >> Mexico Sets Tariffs on U.S. Pork, Other Products

Mexico on Tuesday hit back at U.S. import tariffs on steel and aluminum by imposing its own import tariffs on a variety of U.S. products ranging from steel to pork to bourbon. 

Mexico’s government released a full list of products targeted for import tariffs ranging from 15-25%. Other agricultural products affected include apples, grapes, blueberries, potatoes, cranberries and various cheeses. 

Mexico’s Economy Ministry said the tariffs would take effect immediately and stay in place as long as the U.S. continued to charge import duties on Mexican steel and aluminum, adding that Mexico could modify the list of products targeted at any time. The ministry valued U.S. exports subject to the tariffs at about $3 billion, representing about 1.5% of annual U.S.-Mexico trade. 

The U.S. pork industry could significantly affected by Mexico’s actions as it is the No. 1 buyer of U.S. pork by volume (No. 2 by value). The president of the National Pork Producers Council, Jim Heimerl, told Reuters News Service on Tuesday that "a 20 percent tariff eliminates our ability to compete effectively in Mexico." 

Mexico, will initially impose a 10% tariff on all U.S. pork products, with the tariff rising to 20% by July 5, a spokesperson for the Mexican Ministry of Economy confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday. 

Because Mexico is so dependent the U.S. for supplies, the government also has set a duty-free quota of 350,000 metric tons for pork legs and shoulders from non-U.S. origins, in an effort to avoid destabilizing its pork market. However, it remains to be seen just where Mexico will be able to find alternative suppliers. Many market observers do not think the import tariffs are sustainable.