Ag Policy Blog

Senator: President's Mexican Tariffs Could Hurt USMCA Passage

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, criticized President Donald Trump's new tariff announcement against Mexico and said late Thursday the president's latest action could threaten passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Trump announced Thursday evening his administration would impose a 5% tariff on all imported products from Mexico starting June 10 and would ratchet up the tariff to 10% in early July. The president said the tariff would increase to as much as 25%. Trump is imposing the tariffs against Mexico because he does not think Mexico does enough to curb illegal immigration from Mexico into the U.S.

Trump tweeted, "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. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied,.." In a follow up tweet, the president added, "....at which time the Tariffs will be removed. Details from the White House to follow."

The new tariffs on all products from Mexico come just two weeks after the president agreed to remove tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum.

The tariffs also come as Mexican officials announced they were taking steps to ratify the USMCA, and the Trump Administration took steps to send the trade agreement to Congress as well.

Grassley, R-Iowa, said trade and border security are separate issues.

“This is a misuse of presidential tariff authority and counter to congressional intent. Following through on this threat would seriously jeopardize passage of USMCA, a central campaign pledge of President Trump’s and what could be a big victory for the country," Grassley stated.

Grassley added that the president should instead impose a fee on remittances sent to Mexico. Remittances are typically monies from people working in the U.S. that is sent back to their families. Grassley said remittances "only encourage illegal immigration and don’t help the U.S. economy."

Grassley said he agreed with the president that Mexico should be doing more at the border to control immigration. "I support nearly every one of President Trump’s immigration policies, but this is not one of them. I urge the president to consider other options.”

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

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