Trump Threatens Mexico With 5% Imports Tariff as Punishment for Illegal Immigration

Tomas Pizarro-Escuti | Wed, 5 Jun 2019

The US President, Donald Trump, has taken a step further in his tense relationship with Mexico and the battle against “illegal” migration.  Trump has announced a 5% tariff on all goods imported from the neighbouring country starting from the 10th of June. This tax, the President said, will gradually increase, up to 25%, if an improvement in the Mexican migration control is not perceived.  If materialised, this threat could generate a diplomatic crisis between two of the world’s largest trading partners and severely damage Mexico’s economic development. 
Jesus Seade, Mexico's deputy foreign minister for North America, said “ The most logical response to US policy would be an eye for an eye” but then warned that “reciprocal measures would lead to a trade war, and that is the last thing we want”. Likewise, the Mexican President, Mr Andrés Manuel López Obrador, stated “I do not believe in the Talion Law, in a ‘tooth for a tooth’ or an ‘eye for an eye,’ because, if we go there, we would all end up toothless and blind in one eye. I believe that people of the state, and even more so, as people of the nation, we are obligated to find peaceful solutions to our disputes and to always practice the beautiful ideal of nonviolence.”
This is not the first time that Trump has threatened Mexico with harmful measures - he has done this in the past and not dared to apply them; for example, closing the borders. Trump has already threatened to begin using tariffs as a tool to force Mexico to adopt more radical measures against the flow of undocumented immigrants, fleeing from extreme poverty in Central America.  However, it was not until the 30th of May that Trump formally launched the announcement in a very undiplomatic tone faithful to his expressive style, he said, "if the illegal migration crisis is alleviated through effective actions taken by Mexico, to be determined in our sole discretion and judgment, the tariffs will be removed.”  Such a threat was responded by López Obrador, who said: “Domestic issues of inequality are not resolved with imposing tariffs”. The Mexican President also reminded Trump that his government is complying "as far as possible and without violating human rights" with the responsibility of preventing the passage of illegal immigrants through Mexico. 
In the United States, manufacturers are warning that Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Mexico could have a huge impact on the US economy and may jeopardise his government’s efforts to win a passageway of the new North American trade accord. According to information from the Deutsche Bank, 35% of all U.S. automobile parts consist of components manufactured abroad — and Mexico’s largest imports to its Northern neighbour are car-related.  Jay Timmons, the CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, has said, “These proposed tariffs would have devastating consequences on manufacturers in America and on American consumers,” he added “We have taken our concerns to the highest levels of the administration and strongly urge them to consider carefully the impact of this action on working families across this country.” Timmons also called for a comprehensive solution to the immigration crisis.

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