Transport Topics; By Sean McNally Senior Reporter; Updated: 8/17/2010 3:30:00 PM
The Mexican government plans to expand its list of U.S. goods targeted for higher tariffs, as part of its retaliation for the U.S. government’s refusal to reopen the border to long-haul cross-border trucking.
"The government of Mexico has renewed the list of U.S. goods subject to increased tariffs," according to a statement posted on the embassy’s website. "The revised list will involve 99 U.S. products with a similar total export value to Mexico as the previous list."
The Mexican government "has yet to receive a formal proposal for resolution of this dispute and an unequivocal signal that the U.S. government is working to eliminate the barriers that Mexican long haul carriers face to access the U.S. market," the statement said.
The announcement did not specify which new products would be on the list.
Last year, after the Obama administration and Congress shut down a pilot project to allow a limited number of Mexican carriers to access U.S. highways beyond the border commercial zone, Mexico set tariffs on a number of goods ranging from Christmas trees to frozen potatoes, with a value of $2.5 billion.
Since then, U.S. officials have said repeatedly that they were working on a plan to revive the program, required under provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Monday that the U.S. government was continuing to work with Congress to resolve the dispute, and that he was "disappointed" with Mexico’s move to expand tariffs, Bloomberg reported.
The Department of Transportation, for its part, "remains committed to working with Congress and Mexican officials to identify a mutually agreeable path forward," DOT spokeswoman Olivia Alair said Monday.
"We believe we can find a solution that both addresses the concerns voiced by some in the U.S. Congress, and keeps us compliant with our international trade obligations," she said, adding that DOT "is developing a new proposal that will meet congressional concerns as well as our NAFTA commitments."