The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) joined more than 45 other groups representing a wide range of business sectors calling for an end on tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico.
In a Jan. 23 letter addressed to Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the ad hoc coalition emphasized the importance of lifting steel and aluminum tariffs with North American trade partners in advance of ratification of the new United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA). The USMCA could replace the current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has been in place for nearly 25 years.
“For many farmers, ranchers and manufacturers, the damage from the reciprocal trade actions in the steel dispute far outweighs any benefit that may accrue to them from the USMCA. The continued application of metal tariffs means ongoing economic hardship for U.S. companies that depend on imported steel and aluminum, but that are not exempted from these tariffs. Producers of agricultural and manufactured products that are highly dependent on the Canadian and Mexican markets are also suffering serious financial losses,” the letter says. “We urge you to take all necessary steps to resolve this matter so that zero-tariff North American trade can resume, and we can turn our attention to working with you to gain prompt Congressional approval of the USMCA.”
The letter is one piece of a multipronged effort on the part of MEMA to encourage the elimination of steel and aluminum tariffs on these and other trade partners.
“The success of our industry and the continued employment of hundreds of thousands of American depends on a strong, functioning North American supply chain,” MEMA said in an official statement in November. “Yet, in order for USMCA to achieve success, the parties must conclude negotiations to exempt Mexican and Canadian imports from Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum. 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.”