President Trump said he plans to move forward with imposing tariffs on Mexican imports as part of his effort to stem the flow of migrants crossing the southern border, telling reporters at a news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May that Republican senators would be “foolish” if they try to stop him.
Trump’s threat to impose 5% tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico, rising to as high as 25% until the Mexican government stems the flow of migrants – has riled Republican senators who fear its impact on the economy and their home states.
“There is not much support in my conference for tariffs – that’s for sure,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates a 5% tariff would cost U.S. consumers $17.3 billion a year, rising to almost $87 billion if Trump applied his 25% tariff threat in full. Mexico accounted for 15% of total U.S. imports in the first quarter, overtaking Canada and China to be America’s top trading partner.
Among U.S. states that stand to be hardest hit are Arizona, where 40% of its total imports come from Mexico; Michigan, 38%; Texas, 35%; and New Mexico, 31%. The top U.S. imports from Mexico are cars, oil, electronics, machinery and fruit.
Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) President Dennis Slater issued the following statement opposing the Trump administration’s decision to impose a new 5% tariff on all Mexican imports:
“Tariffs are taxes on Americans and this decision will only hurt U.S. manufacturers, including many of the 1.3 million men and women our industry employs,” said Slater. “The Trump administration’s proposal to impose a new 5% tariff on all Mexican imports would hurt the American workers who are the backbone of our economy. It also hurts the prospects of ratifying the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Nearly 30% of the equipment manufactured in the United States is designated for export and the USMCA would preserve duty-free access to our industry’s largest export markets. We urge the administration to support U.S. manufacturers and farmers by not imposing this new tariff.”