Officials to discuss removing US cement tariffs

Officials to discuss removing US cement tariffs
Published: 09 September 2005

The US and Mexican governments will hold meetings next week to discuss the increase in US imports of Mexican cement, according to local news reports.
 
Mexico must take advantage of the favorable situation in terms of cement consumption around the world and especially in the US, said Kenneth Smith, business evaluation director at Mexico’s department of economy. 
 
"We are involved in exploratory talks with the [US] Department of Commerce and we will be meeting to see how an increase in imports of Mexican cement [by the US] would work, even going as far as covering free trade," the official was quoted as saying. 
 
The governors of certain southern US states have shown concern about the lack of cement supplies and they would like to evaluate an agreement with Mexico to fulfill demand, Smith said. 
 
The US only produces enough cement to supply 75% of domestic demand and the remaining 25% is imported from Asia due to the import tariffs imposed on Mexican cement. 
 
Since 1995, Mexican cement has had to pay tariffs of up to 80% as a means of protecting US producers. 
 
"The US need for more cement and the progress in the litigation with Mexican producers means it is possible for talks between both countries’ governments to reach an agreement that allows free importation from Mexico," Smith said. 
 
There has been friction between the two nations regarding US claims - presented to the World Trade Organization (WTO) - that Mexico has carried out cement dumping. 
 
The US is thought to have collected more than US$100mn in antidumping tariffs from Mexican cement producers since the measure was established. This money could be returned if the WTO ends up ruling in Mexico’s favor.