US drops tariffs on Mexican, Canadian pet-food-can metals

United States President Donald Trump agreed to end metal tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, used in the production of pet food containers, from Canada and Mexico as of May 19.

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(Mbruxelle | BigStock.com)
(Mbruxelle | BigStock.com)

United States President Donald Trump agreed to end metal tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, used in the production of pet food containers, from Canada and Mexico as of May 19.

“The Pet Food Institute (PFI) commends trade negotiators from the United States, Canada and Mexico for reaching agreement to remove U.S. Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum from our North America partners, as well as remove Canadian and Mexican retaliatory tariffs on a range of U.S. products,” said Dana Brooks, president and CEO of the Pet Food Institute. “PFI is optimistic that these important steps will help lead to the ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“Under NAFTA, Canada and Mexico represent the first and third largest export markets for U.S. pet food makers. USMCA will be critical to the continued success of U.S. agriculture and manufacturing,” she said. “We urge Congress to ratify the trade deal in light of the removal of the Section 232 and retaliatory tariffs.”

On June 1, 2018, Trump imposed tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum. USMCA is meant to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. USMCA is signed but not ratified.

History of metal tariffs and effects on pet food industry

Canada is the US’ top pet food export market with a value of approximately US$526 million in 2017, John Stewart, American Feed Industry Association manager of government affairs, during his 2018 presentation at the International Processing and Production Expo quoting U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. International Trade Commission figures. Mexico imports US$77 million worth of pet food from the US in 2017, putting it in third place.

Since NAFTA came into effect in 1994, US pet food exports to Mexico and Canada have increased 184 percent, compared to 129 percent in the rest of the world. Mexico and Canada now account for 50 percent of total US pet food exports, up from 38 percent in 1993.

“We have the highest food safety standards for pet foods in the world and we think that having Canada and Mexico as open markets is critical for transportation and trade,” said Brooks in an earlier article. “Fifty percent of homes in Canada have dogs, and they are probably purchasing US pet food.”

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