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AH NUTS!(and Christmas trees, and deodorant and copier paper and…)

18 March 2009

“Grab ’em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow”   (Devious bastard, Lyndon Baines Johnson)

Or, in the NAFTA trucking dispute, grab ’em by the nuts…

… for those who mistakenly assume Mexican businessmen are stupid, A Mexican official confirmed Wednesday that pressuring specific U.S. politicians was one consideration in picking products from certain states for tariffs. He spoke on condition of anonymity, saying Mexican officials don’t want to inflame the dispute further. The same Mexican official confirmed his government chose the $2.4 billion worth of products partly to target states with powerful Democratic politicians.

“The intention is to let the constituents know that it’s important the United States respects and abides by its international obligations,” the Mexican official said.

Mexico Trucker

I was mistaken when I wrote yesterday (17-March) that I expected the new tariffs to target agricultural products (which might benefit small farmers here), though U.S. nuts are among those items facing a twenty-percent retaliatory tariff in response to the Obama Administration’s bone-headed decision to stop cross-border trucking.

I’m not sure the tariffs were aimed solely at Democratic Party politicians, though California agricultural products (wines, fruit juices, nuts, iceberg lettuce) are among those products subject to the new rates.  The list of products subject to the punitive tariff was designed to economically affect 40 of the 50 states in the United States.

So the list is a hodge-podge, including things like nail polish, deodorants, kitchen appliances, carpeting, toothpaste, dental floss, sunglasses, drapery rods and dog food.  None of these are essential to the Mexican economy, Mexican-made brands being already available (the U.S. brands competed because of heavy advertising and sales at U.S. owned supermarkets).

Except for the “juniors” who think U.S. made products are automatically superior, and the silly gringos who can’t imagine buying a LG refrigerator as opposed to a Sears Kenmore, or feed their pooch Iambs or Science Diet  there’s not going to be any noticeable effects on anyone.

The only quasi-essential on the list are copier paper, since Mexico does not produce much paper, but Canadian and Russian paper products are available.  I’m wondering if Office Max or International Paper pissed off someone down here… the tariff also applies to ball point pens, post-it notes, and pencils.  And, if the tariffs last until December, Mexicans can go back to putting up a naciameinto at Christmas instead of a tree (the 20% tariff on Christmas Tree tariff is aimed at Oregon politicos), we grow them here, for EXPORT, but can always sell them locally.

Ho, ho, ho…


The official decreto authorizing the tariffs and listing the rates has been published in the Diario Oficial de la Federación, which is the final step in making this legal.

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