The United States will impose a 5 percent tariff on Mexican imports starting Monday (June 10), unless ongoing, week-long talks between U.S. and Mexican officials on measures to stem illegal migration across the U.S. southern border succeed before then.
“Progress is being made, but not nearly enough!,” Trump tweeted on June 5. “Further talks with Mexico will resume tomorrow with the understanding that, if no agreement is reached, tariffs at the 5 percent level will begin on Monday, with monthly increases as per schedule.”
Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard told reporters Wednesday that talks with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been respectful and focused on immigration. They were scheduled to continue discussions Thursday afternoon.
Trump’s latest tariff threat engendered strong resistance from lawmakers from both parties. Republican senators earlier this week met with White House officials to push back against the move and the damage it may inflict on the progress of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). “We’ve got a lot invested in that,” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. “We don’t want to do anything to put that at risk.”
Meanwhile, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., told media outlets that he intends to introduce legislation to block President Trump from imposing tariffs if he follows through on the threat.
USMCA: The Trump administration on May 30 began the formal process of sending the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to Congress. But USMCA’s prospects dimmed hours later when Trump announced his intention to impose the immigration-related tariffs on all imports from Mexico.
The NGFA and North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) issued a joint statement May 31, noting that the imposition of tariffs on Mexico as a tactic to address immigration issues ”unquestionably will jeopardize” ratification of the U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The full statement follows:
“As organizations that strongly and unequivocally support speedy ratification of the (USMCA), the NGFA and NAEGA commend the Trump administration for forwarding the draft Statement of Administrative Action to Congress on May 30, thereby clearing another important procedural step to eventual congressional consideration of the accord.
“But we are concerned about the prospect of the imposition of new U.S. tariffs against Mexico. The imposition of such tariffs unquestionably will jeopardize ratification of this crucial trade accord that would bring about more normalized and predictable two-way trade with the United States’ top trading partners, which is vitally important to U.S. agriculture, the American economy and job creation, particularly given the current trade disruptions with China.
“We strongly urge U.S. and Mexican officials to immediately begin good-faith discussions to urgently arrive at mutually agreeable steps to restore desperately needed confidence and certainty to agriculture and other industries and job-creators that depend upon vibrant trade and efficient supply chains that benefit North American and global consumers.”