Mexico’s top trade official threatened Tuesday to retaliate against the U.S. if the Trump administration moves ahead with plans to put tariffs that include Mexico.
“There’s a list that we are analyzing internally, but we won’t make it public, we’re going to wait,” Mexican economic minister Ildefonso Guajardo said in an interview with the Televisa network Tuesday.
He said that the list would include politically sensitive U.S. products. That’s likely an indication that the retaliatory measures would affect things like Bourbon whiskey produced in Kentucky, the home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, or products made in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin.
Guajardo’s threats of tit-for-tat retaliation stood in stark contrast with the conciliatory words emanating from the White House and elsewhere in the Trump administration this week. President Donald Trump on Monday indicated that both Canada and Mexico could be excluded from the tariffs if the Nafta negotiations are successful. That possibility was echoed Tuesday by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
“To the extent that we’re successful in renegotiating Nafta, those tariffs won’t apply to Mexico and Canada,” Mnuchin told a panel of lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Guarjardo also flatly rejected the idea of a bilateral trade agreement with the U.S., something U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had mentioned as a possibility at a conference Monday marking the end of the seventh round of Nafta renegotiations Monday.
Any trade agreement “has to be a trilateral accord, given the conditions of integration in North America,” Guajardo said.