Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue used a football analogy to describe the process of passing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. He calls passage more of a “field goal” than a touchdown. Perdue says the reason for the difficulty is the administration hasn’t yet removed the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from two key North American trading partners.
Perdue tells reporters this week that he’ll consider it a “touchdown, a more certain success when we get those tariffs removed.” When the trade pact negotiations were moving along smoothly, Canada and Mexico were exempt from the tariffs. However, when things stalled, that exemption came to an end. As was expected, Mexico and Canada both hit back with retaliatory tariffs. Mexican tariffs have hit American agriculture hard on cheese, pork, apples, and potatoes.
Perdue says the tariffs need to go as they accomplished the goal of getting Mexico and Canada to the negotiating table. “Once you’ve achieved your goals with the tariffs, then it’s probably time to look at other ways,” Perdue says. He realizes that the tariffs remain a thorn in the process of getting the deal ratified in all three countries.