Trade

Trump Threatens to Restart Trade War With Mexico. Again.

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump's fake NAFTA replacement, the so-called U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), went into effect on July 1st but that has not stopped the Trump regime from threatening to restart their trade war with Mexico several times over.

The regime's latest threat comes from Trump's trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, who has seemingly claimed out of the blue -- no pun intended -- that imports from Mexico threaten American blueberry farmers. And no, I didn't have that on my bingo card, either.

Lighthizer is calling for one of the regime's trademark "investigations" that have all led to tariffs even if the investigation did not produce any publicly available evidence to support tariffs.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) also will request that the U.S. International Trade Commission initiate a Section 201 global safeguard investigation to review “the extent to which increased imports of blueberries have caused serious injury to domestic blueberry growers.”

If the commission finds injury, the U.S. government could impose tariffs on products to help domestic growers.

"President (Donald) Trump recognizes the challenges faced by American farmers and is committed to promoting and securing fair trade and a level playing field for all American producers," U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement here which also outlined actions by the Commerce Department and the Department of Agriculture.

"Promoting and securing fair trade and a level playing field" was ostensibly the reason for negotiating and signing the USMCA.

Americans got a raw deal under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Trump has always claimed, and yet it appears his deal is no different by his own standards. But we knew it wouldn't be; even congressional Republicans admitted that about 95 percent of the new agreement was the same as NAFTA. The similarity of the deal is the reason why it was able to move through Congress in the first place. No one wanted to rock the boat and Trump's deal didn't in any significant way. White House negotiators abandoned most of his biggest demands when the agreement was written.

It may be true that American blueberry farmers are having difficulty competing with Mexican farmers on the open market for all I know, but that's the Free Market for you. Intervening in the market by imposing tariffs on Mexican farmers would lead to retaliation that would be shouldered by other American farmers and possibly other industries.

The Biden administration will almost certainly have their own trade battles to fight, too, because the global economy is quickly changing, but I'm fairly confident theirs will be based on actual evidence and data rather than industry cronyism. Trump's entire trade war has been waged in the interest of being reelected by Midwestern farm and metal workers.

I will call out the Biden administration's trade actions, too, if they aren't based on something tangible; if their actions won't actually lead to a better outcome.

  • muselet

    Oh, good grief.

    I can save the US International Trade Commission a lot of time and trouble. Blueberries are seasonal. In the northern hemisphere, that season moves progressively northward. Mexican blueberries ripen earlier than California blueberries, which ripen earlier than Oregon blueberries, which ripen earlier than Washington State blueberries, which ripen earlier than Canadian blueberries. There’s some overlap along the way, when one crop is ending and the next is beginning, but that’s about it for direct competition.

    Oh, and during the northern hemisphere’s winter, blueberries come from South America, where it’s summer.

    There’s the investigation, done and dusted.

    Does no one in the Office of the US Trade Representative understand how seasons work?

    And yes, I know, this is just a pretext for Donald Trump to hoot and gibber and thump his chest about how tough! he is toward Mexico. I get it. This is just so much stupider than usual,.

    On the bright side, there is the faintest whiff of desperation about the administration going after Mexico over blueberries, of all things.

    –alopecia

    • Draxiar

      This also reflects the severe unreliability of the trump administration thereby undermining our credibility and trustworthiness. Even when other countries sign trade agreements, partner in a collective task, or “make deals” (so tired of that word ‘deals’) there’s no guarantee that trump or anyone in his administration will adhere to them. More to the point, they seem to actively try to find reasons to snap any sort compromise that has been made so the fight can keep going on…as you say, so he can thump his chest.

    • Look, I can forgive the corruption, the lying, the child-caging, the whining, criminality, the pettiness, and the (soon-to-be) hundreds of thousands of Dead Americans, but he’s got the backs of the blueberry farmers so he’s my man! I was considering Biden but this just sealed the deal for Trump! Today was the day he finally became President.