President Donald Trump on Thursday announced a 5% tariff on imports from Mexico — another tactic in his efforts to curb an influx of migrants coming across the US border.
“On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP,” Trump announced on Twitter. “The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied, at which time the Tariffs will be removed.”
The tariff will increase to 10% in July, 15% in August, 20% in September, and 25% in October, if Mexico does not adequately take steps to lower the illegal immigration rate. Trump added that the US will have the “sole discretion” in determining whether Mexico has done enough to “alleviate” the border crossings.
Trump and White House officials have been exploring the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which grants him the authority to regulate commercial deals between the US and other countries.
Trump has bemoaned the rising rate of migrants crossing the border (many of whom are seeking asylum) in recent weeks. Over 100,000 migrants were apprehended at the US-Mexico border last month, the most in more than a decade.
In a statement, Trump warned “if Mexico fails to act, tariffs will remain at a high level.”
“Companies located in Mexico may start moving back to the United States to make their products and goods,” Trump said in a separate statement. “Companies that relocate to the United States will not pay the Tariffs or be affected in any way.”
“Mexico must step up and help solve this problem,” the statement continued. “For years, Mexico has not treated us fairly — but we are now asserting our rights as a sovereign Nation.”
Some White House aides warned Trump not to impose the tariffs, fearing economic blowback and the possibility of scuttling trade deals that are currently in the works, according to The Washington Post. Leaders from the US, Mexico, and Canada, are working on the new North American trade agreement, which has yet to pass in Congress.
The Post reported that US consumers and companies are likely to bear the economic brunt of this proposed tariff.
The US is also currently in an escalating trade conflict with China; trade negotiations between the countries broke down earlier this month.