A bipartisan group of US senators has written a letter requesting a clear deadline for an export monitoring agreement of Mexican steel products into the US market.
“The surge of Mexican steel imports into the US market” violates the 2019 Joint Statement by the United States and Mexico on Section 232 Duties on Steel and Aluminum, the senators say in their Dec. 13 letter to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
The group applauds US Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai “for securing a commitment on Sept. 23, 2023, from Mexican Economic Minister Buenrostro to reinstate export monitoring to guarantee future compliance with the 2019 Joint Agreement.”
“However, we are concerned that the Mexican government is willfully delaying finalization of this agreement and is negotiating in bad faith,” the letter states.
Also, the group points out that Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has “drastically reduced the staff of Mexico’s Economy Ministry by at least a third, putting into question whether Mexico can even enforce an export monitoring agreement.”
Further, the group urges the Biden administration “to set a clear deadline for the implementation of an export monitoring agreement.”
“We ask for an update from your office by Dec. 31, 2023 on the administration’s next steps in driving these post-breach negotiations to conclusion,” the letter concludes.
The imports threaten the US manufacturing base and national security, according to the letter. The senators note data from 2022 that shows annual iron and steel imports from Mexico have increased by ~73% over the pre-Section 232 2015-17 baseline, as well as citing several Mexican steelmakers.
“This steel surge has already resulted in at least one plant closure, the loss of over a thousand new and existing jobs, and the deferment of millions of dollars in new investment,” the letter states.
“We request additional information on the administration’s plans to address this continued surge and urge you to take immediate action to safeguard US jobs and domestic steel manufacturing,” the letter says.
In September, SMU reported on Deputy USTR Jayme White’s meeting with a Mexican official regarding enhancing monitoring of Mexican steel and aluminum exports to the US.
A request for comment from Mexican steel association Canacero was not returned by time of publication.
Ethan BernardRead more from Ethan Bernard
Latest in Trade Cases
Leibowitz: The future of WTO dispute settlement in the MC 13 conference
This week, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial conference convenes in Abu Dhabi, UAE. There are many issues on the WTO’s plate. The question is whether any resolution of these matters is likely or even possible. One of the most important issues is the future of the dispute settlement system, which has been rendered impotent […]
Leibowitz: Could change at the ITC keep Weirton tin mill open?
The International Trade Commission (ITC) voted earlier this month against imposing antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of tin mill products from four countries. When Cliffs filed trade cases on tin mill products in early 2023, the company claimed that the failure to get massive duties on imports would result in the closure of its mill in Weirton, W.Va. We don’t know the reasoning behind this decision, only that all four sitting Commissioners voted not to impose duties. We do know that Cliffs plans to close Weirton.
Cliffs to idle Weirton mill after tinplate trade case decision
Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. announced on Thursday, Feb. 15, that it will indefinitely idle tinplate production at its mill in Weirton, W.Va.
Leibowitz on trade: Consumers win one at the ITC
Last week, steel consumers prevailed in a rare victory over US petitioners in trade cases on tin mill steel products. The US International Trade Commission (ITC) voted 4—0 that Cleveland-Cliffs, the sole remaining domestic producer of tin mill products (used to make containers such as “tin cans”) was neither injured nor threatened with injury by imports of competing products from Canada, China, and Germany. Imports from South Korea were found to be “negligible,” and the investigation on Korean imports was terminated.
ITC votes not to impose duties on tin mill product imports
At the final hour, the trade case investigating unfairly traded imports of tin mill products has been terminated.