Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has received an official list of United States products that could be subject to retaliatory tariffs if across-the-board duties threatened by the administration of US President Donald Trump take effect, officials told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday.
President Trump has pledged to apply a first round of tariffs on all Mexican imports starting next week if Lopez Obrador’s government does not stem the flow of mostly Central American migrants seeking entry into the United States via Mexico.
Four sources familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity to Reuters, said the list of products was with Lopez Obrador’s office. One source said the president’s office had not made a decision on how to proceed with the list.
The products targeted are similar to those lined up in retaliation to Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs last year, and are mainly tailored towards hitting the US president’s electoral base, according to one of the sources.
That meant focusing on goods produced in states that voted for Trump in 2016, where agriculture plays a major role in the local economy, as well as Rust Belt industrial states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio, the source added.
The list submitted to the president’s office apparently excludes corn from the US. But that could change in due course, one of the sources noted.
Mexico’s growing livestock industry relies on millions of tonnes of US-grown yellow corn annually, and industry experts say it would extremely hard to quickly substitute the American imports with corn from other nations.
While Mexico is self-sufficient in the production of white corn, which is used for tortillas that are a staple in the country, it has for decades relied on yellow corn imports to feed its cows, pigs and chickens.