A group of industry emissaries, which includes American automakers, aluminum producers, manufacturers and farmers, warned U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Mexican and Canadian steel and aluminum, as well as their reciprocal countermeasures, are rapidly undermining whatever benefits the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) could produce once it takes effect.
“The damage from the reciprocal trade actions in the steel dispute far outweighs any benefit that may accrue to them from the USMCA,” the group of more than 40 different industry associations and lobby groups wrote in a letter released recently (PDF).
“The continued application of metal tariffs means ongoing economic hardship for U.S. companies that depend on imported steel and aluminum, but that are not exempt from these tariffs. Producers of agricultural and manufactured products that are highly dependent on the Mexican and Canadian markets are also suffering serious financial losses,” says the document.
During a panel discussion Jan. 24 on the impact of the tariffs, Matt Blunt, a former Missouri governor, now serving as president of the American Automotive Policy Council, said ending the impasse will be a central part of his group’s lobbying efforts.
“Every door we knock on, we’ll be encouraging support for USMCA,” Blunt said, according to a transcript released by his office (PDF). “In the same breath, we’ll be encouraging members and folks in the administration to deal with this real challenge, which risks undermining the good work that the administration did on USMCA.”
Blunt warned it currently costs US$464 more per vehicle to produce a car in the United States as a direct result of the steel and aluminum tariffs.