TORONTO – Mexico’s Economy Minister Graciela Marquez Colin said on Tuesday that her government was ready to impose retaliatory tariffs on the United States if Washington maintains its duties on Mexican steel and aluminum exports.
Marquez’s statements followed a meeting in Toronto with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland in which they discussed the adoption of a common trade strategy towards the United States.
After the meeting, Freeland and Marquez urged the US to lift the tariffs it imposed in 2018 on Canadian and Mexican metallurgical exports.
At a press conference with Marquez, Freeland stressed that a new free trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States and the steps taken by the three countries for its ratification, means that now is “the time to have the tariffs lifted.”
Marquez said that Mexico has finalized a list of US products on which the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will impose tariffs on in retaliation for the US tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum.
“We are in the process of preparing new retaliation tariffs but we are not in a position to reveal the new components,” said Marquez, adding that Mexico has already determined the list of affected products.
Later, in statements to the Canadian public broadcaster CBC, Marquez said it is “time to refresh” the list of products affected by retaliatory tariffs after the first round that the Mexican government imposed last year.
Marquez added that the new list “could maintain some of the products that are already on it” and “for economic and political reasons, we add some other products.”
The meeting between Freeland and Marquez was held hours before Freeland travels to Washington on Wednesday to meet with US trade chief negotiator Robert Lighthizer and other US politicians.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also spoke on the phone with US Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday.
The pair discussed the “issue of US steel and aluminum tariffs,” the Canadian Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
Trudeau, the statement added, “stressed the importance of their removal.” They also exchanged views on the ratification of the new North American Free Trade Agreement, known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
NAFTA will remain in place until its replacement USMCA is ratified.