U.S. seeks to reinstate tariffs on Mexican steel over alleged triangulation with China

Photo: Wallpaper Flare.

The U.S. government has threatened to reinstate tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum, alleging alleged triangulation of Chinese products through Mexico. This dispute has been reignited by U.S. lawmakers and the White House, who argue an increase in Mexican steel and aluminum imports since the elimination of tariffs in 2019. Mexico is accused of importing these metals from third-party countries, including Brazil and Russia.

In May 2023, U.S. lawmakers pressed authorities, highlighting the increase in imports and requesting more information. Despite U.S Trade Representative Katherine Tai meeting with Mexico’s Secretary of Economy Raquel Buenrostro, the White House maintains that the problem has not been effectively addressed. In a recent meeting, Tai emphasized the urgent need for Mexico to take immediate action to address the increased exports and lack of transparency in steel and aluminum imports from third countries.

The Mexican steel industry, represented by the National Chamber of the Iron and Steel Industry (Canacero), has responded by defending itself. They claim that Mexico has a 3.2 billion dollar deficit in steel trade, the largest on record, and buys 49% of its steel exports from the United States. Canacero denies acting as a bridge for Chinese products and emphasizes cooperation.

This conflict adds to trade tensions between the United States and Mexico, which are already facing proceedings under the Mexico, United States and Canada Treaty (TMEC) over issues such as the ban on transgenic corn and limitations on private companies in the electricity sector.

Experts point out that the current accusation could be related to the electoral situation in both countries and the growing political pressure in the United States to contain Chinese influence. The TMEC will be reviewed in 2026, and the current situation suggests ongoing challenges in trade relations between the two countries.