President Donald Trump is dug in as 5% tariffs on every product coming in from Mexico now appear inevitable.
Republican lawmakers indicated Tuesday they would be willing to work on legislation to block the president from implementing the next round of tariffs, but Trump dismissed that possibility at a press conference Tuesday in England.
"Oh, I don’t think they will do that. I think if they do, it’s foolish. There’s nothing more important than borders. I’ve had tremendous Republican support."
The New York Times reported "Senate Republicans Warn White House Against Mexico Tariffs," but the article also reflected Republican senators were divided on whether to support the president. https://www.nytimes.com/…
Trump's position comes after Mexican officials said earlier Tuesday morning that they were confident they could avoid new tariffs. Mexican officials maintain the issues of immigration and trade should not be mixed.
Commodity groups reacted negatively last week when the new tariffs were announced. Mexico exported $372 billion in products to the U.S. in 2018 and imported $299 billion in U.S. goods. Mexico's biggest exports to the U.S. are vehicles, electrical machinery, other machinery, mineral fuels and agricultural products.
The president, however, said he wants to see more border security measures from Mexico. More meetings are expected this week as Mexican officials are schedules to discuss the tariffs with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday.
The 5% tariffs on all products coming from Mexico would start June 10. On July 1, the tariffs would ramp up to 10% and could reach 25% before fall. Trump said that despite the talks, "I think it's more likely that the tariffs go on. And we'll probably be talking during the time that the tariffs are on and they're going to be paid. And if they don't step up and give us security for our nation -- look, millions of people are flowing through Mexico. That's unacceptable. Millions and millions of people are coming right through Mexico. It's a 2,000-mile journey. And they're coming up to our border."
When it comes to congressional action, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said Tuesday that Congress can't "play a role in that" without passing a law, except for "advocacy" on the topic of tariffs. The senator said he hopes the tariffs do not go into effect because of the impact it could have on passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
"I think that there is still some argument among lawyers over whether a resolution of disapproval is appropriate at this point," Grassley said.
Grassley agreed that complaints about the tariffs from other trading partners are legitimate and "hurts our credibility."
Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com
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