Canacero hits back at claim of 'surge' of Mexican steel imports

Written by Ethan Bernard

Mexican steel association Canacero has responded to a Dec. 13 letter from US senators and disputes the claim of a “surge” of Mexican steel imports.

“Mexico is the main partner and ally of the USA in the steel market,” the association said in a press release in Spanish on Dec. 17. “We have never represented a threat, but on the contrary are complementary.”

The US senators’ letter had said, “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.

Responding to this claim, Canacero said that “steel exports from Mexico to the US do not violate the USMCA.” The letter said that exports “are carried out under conditions of fair trade and in full compliance with international trade practices and applicable legislation of that country.”

The letter also noted that, “Mexico’s exports to the US replace those from Asian countries and Eastern Europe.” Further, Canacero pointed to alleged “unfair trade from Asian countries”. It said those imports caused “real damage to both economies.”

Canacero said the information mentioned in the senators’ letter “refers to data from 2022, a very particular year for the global steel market.” Instead, the association said the analysis should focus on current bilateral trade in 2023.

The association claims that US steel exports to Mexico make up 14.6% of the country’s steel consumption, while Mexico’s exports to the US represent only 2.6% of its consumption.

“Canacero considers it essential that both countries continue working together to strengthen the region within the framework of the USMCA,” the letter said. “This would allow for strengthening near-shoring trends, the investments made by both countries in recent years, in addition to combating global overcapacity.”

The data

The US exported approximately 3.71 million metric tons of steel to Mexico in 2022. The States had through October 2023 – the last month for which data for this year were available – exported roughly 3.50 million metric tons to Mexico, according to data from the US Commerce Department.

In other words, the US was on pace to export more to Mexico this year than it did last year.

The US imported 4.81 million metric tons of steel from Mexico in 2022, per Commerce figures. The States through Dec. 11 had imported or were licensed to import 3.59 million tons from Mexico – or significantly less than last year’s total.

Ethan Bernard

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