Mexico restoring grain tariffs, but not against U.S.

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A decision by the Mexican government to restore import tariffs on white corn and sorghum will not apply to U.S. products because of the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture attache in Mexico.

Citing "official sources" from the Mexican government, the USDA attache's report, dated Dec. 24 and released on Dec. 27, said the new import duties, announced Dec. 13, will not apply to countries with which Mexico has free trade agreements.

The import tariffs were eliminated in 2008 in the midst of a world food crisis.

"Under NAFTA, corn, sorghum and vegetable oil imports from the United States are duty free. Therefore, this modification on Mexico's import duties may eventually benefit U.S. exports of these commodities to Mexico, as there will be less competition from countries that will be able to export it duty free," the attache said.

Mexican duties will also rise on imports of green tomatoes, limes and lemons, the attache said.

Imports of yellow corn, which reach about 10 million tons each year, mostly from the United States, will remain exempt.

Attache reports are not official USDA data or positions.

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