Dispute Over Trump’s Tariffs on Mexico By Luke Perry and Phillip Howard
President Trump announced last week the implementation of a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican goods coming into the United States starting Monday because Mexico has not done enough to curb illegal immigrants from crossing the border. The proposal upended U,S. foreign policy and party politics, as Congressional Republicans balked and doubt was cast doubt on the future of the USMCA- a new NAFTA agreement that must be ratified by the U.S., Mexico.
The impending tariffs immediately prompted economic uncertainty, endangering U.S. economic productivity and prompting a potential response by the Federal Reserve Board. Meanwhile, the U.S. and Mexico continue to negotiate a potential agreement ahead of Monday’s deadline.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stated that Mexico has done what it can to curb migration, asserting that “America First is a fallacy.” Mexico has subsequently offered to deploy 6,000 troops to their border with Guatemala, a major entry point for migrants.
Carlos Bravo Regidor, a political analyst and professor at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics in Mexico City, believes the situation is complicated and frustrating for Mexicans. “Mexico cannot take the initiative because Trump is so disruptive,” Regidor explained, “that we reach agreements with him, and then he changes his mind.” Moreover, Mexico faces pressures from both the south and the north.
Peter Navarro, the top trade adviser to President Trump, said the tariffs “may not have to go into effect” if Mexico bears some responsibility over illegal immigration. This suggests there may be a last minute deal, enabling the president to claim credit symbolically, if not substantively. Trump recently observed that “a lot of progress” has been made.
Under the proposed tariff plan, there will be an initial 5 percent tariff on all goods imported from Mexico, rising to 25 percent by October of this year.
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Professor of Government at Utica College
Phillip Howard is a graduate student at Utica College