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Mexico Placing Tariffs on Selected U.S. Exports

Mexico has slapped tariffs on 90 American agricultural and manufactured exports in retaliation for the U.S. Senate's cancellation of a provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that would have allowed Mexican trucks to enter the United States beyond the border commercial zones. Reuters reports that Mexican Economy Minister Gerardo Ruiz says about US$2.4 billion worth of exports from 40 U.S. states will be affected and that his government will soon make public the list of products. "We consider this action by the United States to be mistaken, protectionist, and clearly in violation of NAFTA," Ruiz told reporters. The United States allowed Mexican trucks to begin using U.S. highways in 1995 as part of NAFTA, but confined the trucks to border zones where they had to offload products to be carried by U.S. trucking companies to their final destinations. A pilot program began in 2007 to allow a limited number of Mexican trucks full access to U.S. roads while American trucks got similar access in Mexico. U.S. organized labor, highway safety groups, and consumer groups opposed the practice, while Congressional Republicans and many business trade groups were in favor. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in his daily briefing yesterday that the project was terminated because of concerns about the process, but that the Obama administration has asked the Departments of Transportation and State to work with Congress and Mexican government officials to reach a compromise solution.

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