March 25, 2019 / 5:15 PM / 5 months ago

Mexico opposes U.S. proposal for steel, aluminum quotas

FILE PHOTO: Wire rods are pictured at Kalisch Steel factory in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, March 27, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez/File Photo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico said on Monday it opposes a U.S. proposal for steel and aluminum quotas and reiterated calls for the elimination of tariffs on those products under U.S. Section 232.

“The Mexican government’s position is that the application of the 232 on steel and aluminum is not justified,” Deputy Economy Minister Luz Maria de la Mora told reporters.

De la Mora said the United States proposed eliminating the tariffs under Section 232 in favor of quotas.

“Quotas make no sense, they’re a way of managing trade ... What industry in North America needs is the elimination of this tariff and not managed trade.”

U.S. President Donald Trump set tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum last June, prompting Mexico and other trade partners to hit back. Mexico has consistently argued that the tariffs only damage commerce within North America and should be withdrawn.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on March 12 that the United States is working on a plan to lift tariffs from Mexican and Canadian steel and aluminum but preserve the gains that U.S. domestic producers have received from the duties so far.

A plan to lift tariffs on the metals from Canada and Mexico was once linked to the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement but ultimately was excluded from that deal.

Reporting by Sharay Angulo, Writing by Daina Beth Solomon and Anthony Esposito; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Dan Grebler

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