The Corner

Robbing Pear-ter to Pay Paul

Via Geraghty, Obama aims for Mexico and hits Oregon:

Mexico tariffs freeze pears

Exports of Northwest pears to Mexico have ground to a halt because of a new tariff.

Mexico last week imposed tariffs of 20 percent on pears, cherries, apricots, Christmas trees, frozen potatoes and other products. The tariffs are in retaliation for the U.S. ending a pilot program that allowed some Mexican trucks to transport goods in the U.S. as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Potato Council this week urged Congress and the Obama administration to resolve the $2.4 billion trade dispute.

“We urge you to find a resolution that will honor our obligations under NAFTA, eliminating any cause for Mexico to halt U.S. trade,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said.

In light of the hundreds of billions of dollars Congress recently spent on economic stimulus, Potato Council President Ed Schneider called ending the trucking program ironic.

“Not honoring our trade commitments jeopardizes America’s trading future, increases job losses and further damages our economy,” Schneider said.

Ending the pilot program was a gift to the Teamsters disguised as a concern over the safety of Mexican trucks. A U.S. Department of Transportation study of the program determined that participating truckers actually compiled a better safety record than their American counterparts.

Maybe we’re seeing the outlines of Obama’s grand plan to get the U.S. out of NAFTA (a “bad trade deal,” he said): Just irritate Canada and Mexico until they pull out.

(P.S. Sorry about the headline. Just… sorry.)

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