The Trump Administration is moving ahead with plans to impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods entering the United States from Mexico.
Administration officials have said that the action is being taken in response to the increased number of undocumented immigrants entering the U.S. from Mexico.
As planned, according to the President, the tariff would increase to 10 percent by July 1 all the way up to 25 percent by October 1.
In an appearance on the CNN program State of the Union, Kevin McAleenan, Acting Homeland Security Secretary, noted that many of the most recent migrants trying to cross the U.S. border have come up through Mexico from Central America, adding that Mexican government officials needed to “interdict these folks before they make this route all the way to the U.S.”
According to analysts, the new tariff policy would prove particularly challenging to U.S. automakers, who regularly import around a quarter of the parts needed for their trucks and cars from Mexico.
Altogether, Mexico exported more than $346 billion in goods last year to the U.S., including pulpwood, finished textile supplies, plastic materials, and plywood and cement used in the construction industry.
The upped tariff proposal has sparked the opposition of such business-oriented groups as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In a statement, Neil Bradley, executive vice-president of the Chamber, predicted that the new tariffs “will be paid by American families and businesses without doing a thing to solve the very real problems at the border.”
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, in a news conference, indicated that Mexico will be willing to do what it can to decrease migration within its country. He added that such measures would be implemented “without violating human rights.”
Lopez Obrador also noted that Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard would be discussing the tariff issue early this week in Washington with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
By Garry Boulard
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