Trade Cases

AISI: USMCA can handle US, Mexico trade dust-up

Written by Ethan Bernard

The USMCA should be strong enough to handle steel trade disagreements between the US and Mexico, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute’s (AISI’s) Kevin Dempsey.

“I think the basic structure set up in the USMCA is a good one,” Dempsey, AISI president and CEO, said at a press conference during AISI’s annual general meeting in Washington on Tuesday.

“Of course, it requires continued cooperation,” he added.

Recall that the US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement of 2019 removed Section 232 tariffs from Canada and Mexico. Tensions have increased as US industry and politicians have complained of a “surge” of Mexican steel imports.

The “Stop Mexico’s Steel Surge Act” was introduced into both Houses of Congress in March and seeks to reimpose Section 232 tariffs. Mexico has vowed to retaliate if such measures go through.

Dempsey noted that another current issue with Mexico is its import data. Where the steel comes from when it arrives to Mexico is not all made publicly available. Therefore, when that steel arrives in the US, it’s not clear how much of it is Mexican steel vs. steel from an unknown third country.

“So we need full cooperation with Mexico to allow all the mechanisms in the USMCA to be fully effective,” he said.

“We did add new provisions to incentivize increased customs cooperation between the three governments to address these types of trends,” he noted.

“We’re hoping that there will be a meeting of the North American steel trade committee later in June in Washington that will bring together the three North American steel industries and their government agencies,” Dempsey added.

Ethan Bernard

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