On Tuesday a letter was sent to President Obama from the National Pork Producers Council and 36 state pork organizations asking him to end the dispute over allowing Mexican trucks hauling goods into the United States. As a result of the U.S. not living up to its obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico responded with retaliatory tariffs on a list of U.S. goods. In August they added pork to the list, which now has a 5% tariff.
"The tariff applied to pork will have the effect of placing our products at a price disadvantage to pork produced in Mexico and imports from Canada and Chile, two pork-producing nations that continue to benefit from zero tariffs in Mexico under their own free trade agreements," the pork producer organizations said in the letter.
After Congress failed to renew a pilot program allowing a limited number of Mexican trucks to haul freight in the U.S., Mexico placed $2.4 billion in tariffs on U.S. products in March 2009. A NAFTA dispute panel in 2001 had given them the right to retaliate for U.S. trade violations.
Since 1993, the year before NAFTA was implemented, U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico have increased by 257%, with pork exports growing by 580%. Mexico is the second largest market for the U.S. pork industry, which shipped $762 million of pork south of the border in 2009.