The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) has urged the Trump administration to exempt Mexico and Canada from additional tariffs on steel and aluminum in advance of signing a new North American trade deal.
The new trade deal, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), is intended to replace the current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). After Section 232 investigations by the Department of Commerce, the Trump administration imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada as well as other trading partners earlier this year.
MEMA’s request was made in a letter to United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a November 9 letter signed by MEMA Board of Directors Chairman Dan Sceli.
“In order for the USMCA to achieve success, the U.S. must conclude negotiations with Mexico and Canada to exempt them from the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum prior to signature by the parties. These tariffs are currently costing our industry hundreds of millions of dollars, negating any opportunity to invest in more U.S. manufacturing capacity or workforce development. USMCA will not create the desired opportunities for the United States without addressing steel and aluminum tariffs,” Sceli wrote.
MEMA has been a vocal opponent of tariffs on steel and aluminum. In a separate letter to the White House, MEMA President and CEO Steve Handschuh outlined the impact of tariffs on the motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry.