WASHINGTON – National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Manager of Legislative Affairs Kent Bacus said the United States and Mexico crossed the first of two important hurdles in resolving the ongoing trade dispute regarding Mexican trucks on U.S. roadways stemming from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The dispute has resulted in Mexico levying $2.6 billion worth of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products. While in Mexico City, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) establishing safety guidelines for trucks from Mexico to be allowed on U.S. roads. In addition to establishing safety guidelines, the MOU also lifts half of the retaliatory tariffs. Bacus said cattlemen are relieved the dispute has been resolved before U.S. beef joined the ranks of other U.S. commodities that were hit with tariffs.
“The United States exports more beef to Mexico than any other country. In fact, Mexican consumers purchased $819 million worth of U.S. beef last year alone. We cannot afford to jeopardize that relationship. This MOU ensures that won’t happen,” Bacus said. “NCBA commends the U.S. and Mexican governments for reaching an agreement to resolve this issue before more U.S. commodities are hit with retaliatory tariffs.”
Under the MOU, the remaining Mexican tariffs will be lifted when the first Mexican truck is authorized to drive on U.S. roads. Bacus said NCBA encourages U.S. Department of Transportation to proceed expeditiously toward the second phase of the MOU.
“Under NAFTA, Mexico eliminated its tariffs on U.S. beef imports. That gave the United States a competitive advantage. However, if U.S. beef imports were added to the list of tariffed commodities, we would lose market share that would be difficult to regain,” Bacus said. “As we look to expand trade opportunities for U.S. beef around the globe, it is critical that we continue to build the relationship with our neighbors to the South. We are encouraged by the signing of the MOU and encourage full implementation of the agreement to end the dispute once and for all.”