The Mexican government formally requested relief from the Section 232 tariffs on aluminium and steel from the United States government late last week according to the country’s economic secretary.
Secretary of the Economy Graciela Marquez Colin said Monday that she made the request of U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in the course of the US-Mexico CEO Dialogue on Friday.
Per the ministry, Marquez posited to Ross that Mexican imports of aluminium and steel did not realistically pose a threat to the national security of the United States, so there exists no need to continue to apply the measures authorized by Section 232.
Ross did not offer a rebuttal, per the ministry. Nor did the Department of Commerce respond to requests for comment from industry media on Monday.
Marquez’s request is the latest move in the back-and-forth between Washington, D.C. and Mexico City over the Section 232 tariffs on aluminium and steel. The economic secretary is acting on a request by the Mexican senate last month to work an exemption from the tariffs, arguing that their necessity has been surpassed by the successful negotiation of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which still lacks ratification from the United States’ upper chamber.
Initially negotiators from the Mexican government said that an exemption to the tariffs was a requirement for any new deal to replace NAFTA. However, the requirement was ultimately dropped and the deal was made while the tariffs remained in place.
Mexican aluminium and steel producers initially enjoyed a reprieve from the unpopular tariffs when they were first implemented last spring. However, as it became clear that the Trump Administration’s only alternative to blanket tariffs would be a strict quota, negotiations on a more permanent exemption foundered, and Mexico’s exports of aluminium and steel became subject to the blanket tariffs as of June 1.