Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fighting a trade war

Congress has sparked a trade war with Mexico over allowing Mexican trucks onto US highways.

MEXICO CITY - Mexico said Monday it will increase tariffs on about 90 U.S. products in retaliation for last week's decision to end a pilot program that allowed some Mexican trucks to transport goods in the United States.

Economy Secretary Gerardo Ruiz Mateos said the U.S. decision violates a provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement that was supposed to have opened cross-border trucking by January 2000.

It is interesting to see how Mexico is targeting their retaliation.

The measure will affect about $2.4 billion in trade involving approximately 90 agricultural and industrial products from 40 U.S. states.

Ruiz Mateos said the department later this week will publish a list of the products, which he said were chosen to represent a large number of U.S. states and significant trade items.


Long Run Fixed Costs

One problem with the mining industry is that after you're all done, you still have some rather large fixed costs to contend with. Asarco is dealing with those through bankruptcy.

Bankrupt copper miner Asarco LLC plans to spend $1.1 billion to settle environmental disputes involving mine sites in Arizona, Colorado, Montana and several other states.

The proposed settlements, subject to the bankruptcy court's approval, are a key to the Tucson-based company's efforts to emerge from Chapter 11.

The proposal is related to Asarco's plan to sell its operating assets for $1.7 billion in cash and debt to India-based Sterlite Industries. Asarco's assets include three open-pit mines and a copper smelter in Arizona.

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