Government repeats calls for abolition of US cement tariffs

Government repeats calls for abolition of US cement tariffs
Published: 22 September 2005

The Mexican government will continue its calls for the US to abolish import tariffs on cement in spite of the US government announcement that sanctions will be reduced on cement maker Cemex.

According to the anti-dumping regulations of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the measures imposed should expire after five years, so a mere reduction is insufficient, said Kenneth Smith, Mexico’s director general for international trade negotiations.

"Under internal legal mechanisms in the US, these measures do not expire. On the contrary, there is a dynamic of perpetuating them every five years and when they should be cancelled they are confirmed," Smith was quoted to have said by the newspaper.

The US has applied a tariff of 55 per cent to imports of Mexican cement and the government of Mexico has proposed that this be eliminated. The US government is expected to respond in the next few days.

If US authorities do not abolish the tariffs, Mexico will back litigation within the framework of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the WTO.

The Mexicans are confident that the US will accept a negotiated solution, given that construction firms and state governments north of the border want more Mexican cement, especially ahead of the rebuilding taking place in the wake of hurricane Katrina.