Mexico said it would impose import duties on $3 billion worth of U.S. products, including cheese, bourbon, pork and others, making good on its threats that it would retailiate for U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.
The announcement comes as a senior Trump administration official said that the president wants to end the three-party talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, aiming instead to deal separately with Canada and Mexico to restructure the trade accord.
With its presidential election 26 days away, Mexico’s government imposed a 20 percent tariff on U.S. pork, apples and potatoes and 20 to 25 percent tariffs on cheese and bourbon. Mexico tailored the list of retaliatory duties to hit states governed by senior Republicans, such as the bourbon produced in the home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ky.
Trump does not intend to withdraw from NAFTA, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox & Friends.” But after more than one year of multilateral discussions, he feels the current approach has not been fruitful and a new one is needed.
“His preference now – and he asked me to convey this – is to actually negotiate with Mexico and Canada separately,” Kudlow said. “He prefers bilateral negotiations.”
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Damian Paletta, Steven Mufson