May 17, 2019
Mexico removes tariffs on frozen potatoes from US

President Trump removed the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico on Friday, May 17. Mexico responded by removing its 20% tariff on frozen potatoes from the U.S. on May 20.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue expects the U.S.’s North American trading partners to act swiftly in their response. In addition, the lifting of the Section 232 tariffs should ease the way for ratification of the USMCA trade deal.

“Today’s announcement is a big win for American agriculture and the economy as a whole,” said Sonny Perdue in a statement. “I thank President Trump for negotiating a great deal and for negotiating the removal of these tariffs. Canada and Mexico are two of our top three trading partners, and it is my expectation that they will immediately pull back their retaliatory tariffs against our agricultural products.

“Congress should move swiftly to ratify the USMCA so American farmers can begin to benefit from the agreement.”

Tariff on frozen fries

In June 2018, Mexico levied a 20% tariff on frozen fries in retaliation to the Trump administration’s tariff on steel and aluminum. The result has been a 26% drop decline of U.S. potato exports to Mexico during the first three quarters of the July 2018-July 2019 marketing year, reported Potatoes USA recently.

National Potato Council Vice President of Public Policy Kam Quarles said recently that he feared the USMCA agreement would not be ratified by the U.S. Congress unless the Trump administration removed the Section 232 tariffs. Quarles commented Gregg Doud, the Office of U.S. Trade Representative’s Chief Agriculture Negotiator, for his efforts in negotiations.

“Thanks to USTR Ag. Ambassador Doud and the entire team at USTR for delivering this welcome news to our industry,” Quarles said. “Elimination of the 232 tariffs was essential in order for the (USMCA) to be ratified by Congress. This action is a solid step toward passage of that vital agreement.”

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