End to Mexican tariffs?

End to Mexican tariffs?
Published: 16 August 2004

Many US Companies would like to see the duties removed from Mexican products to ease shortages.  The US construction industry, suffering from a cement shortage that is raising building costs and delaying projects, on Wednesday asked the Bush administration to end anti-dumping tariffs on Mexican cement.

To relieve the strain, the National Association of Home Builders called for dropping the tariffs, which would allow for greater supplies of Mexican cement. The duties were slapped on Mexican imports in 1990, after that nation’s industry was found to be selling cement below the cost of production -- a practice known as "dumping."

Mexico is the most "logical" cement source outside of Asia because delivery from south of the border takes far less time than from across the Pacific, the Washington-based builders group said.

However, the Commerce Department said Wednesday it can’t end the duties unless requested to do so by the US companies that originally petitioned for the tariffs.  And those companies, which include US cement producers, oppose lifting the duties, fearing that a surge in Mexican supplies would lead to a surplus and drive down prices. They contend low supplies will soon ease.