A coalition of more than 45 groups signed on to a letter sent to the Trump administration asking for an end to the tariffs on Canadian and Mexican aluminum and steel imports so the U.S. can take advantage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). In lifting the metal tariffs, business and agricultural organizations anticipate that Canada and Mexico will in turn rescind their duties on U.S. goods.

The letter, sent by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, reads:

For many producers the damage from the reciprocal trade actions in the steel and aluminum dispute far outweighs any benefit that may accrue to them from the USMCA. We urge the administration to work with the Canadians and Mexicans on a prompt resolution of the metals issue.

“The metals tariffs are undermining the ability of the private sector to lobby for passage of the USMCA deal," explains NPCC president Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Ohio. "For many sectors, the duties are a hair-on-fire issue that is draining resources that otherwise would be focused on passage of the USMCA."

Farmers and food companies have been particularly hard hit by the Canadian and Mexican retaliation over steel tariffs implemented by the Trump administration. According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, the Mexican tariff is costing producers $12 per animal, meaning industry-wide losses of $1.5 billion annually.