White House: President Trump 'Deadly Serious' About Mexico Tariffs

Saul Bowman
June 3, 2019

"They have to get dramatically better and they have to get better quickly".

"That old-fashioned economic orthodoxy doesn't work when it's relatively easy to substitute other goods, " Mulvaney said, predicting a jump in US production of consumer goods to fill the gap.

"There is a willingness on the part of US officials to establish a dialogue and reach agreements", Lopez Obrador told reporters at a press conference in Veracruz, a major port city on the Gulf of Mexico.

Mr Trump tweeted on Sunday: "America has had enough".

FILE - In this December 2, 2018, file photo taken from Playas of Tijuana, Mexico, Honduran migrants climb over a section of the US border fence before turning themselves in to border control agents.

Although the president has threatened to impose tariffs targeting the close US ally and second-largest trading partner before, he has previously been talked out of such a move by Republicans and top administration officials.

The tariffs would increase 5 percent each month and could hit 25 percent by October.

But the president has been here before, issuing high-stakes threats over his frustration with the flow of migrants only to later back off.

The US tariffs would be devastating for Mexico, which sends 80 percent of its exports to the US. "Could be fixed so easily if they would vote with Republicans to fix the loopholes!" he tweeted. He gushed in a tweet Saturday that "tariff is a handsome word indeed!"

"He's been known to play with fire but not live hand grenades, " Kennedy said on CBS News's "Face the Nation". The threatened Mexican tariffs would hit autoworkers hard ― Mexico is the largest source of parts for USA -made cars.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said he had spoken to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by phone and said face-to-face talks between the two would take place on Wednesday in Washington. "There are natural choke points", McAleenan said on CNN's "State of the Union".

Trump declared a national emergency at the U.S. -Mexico border in February, in the midst of a government shutdown over Congress' refusal to grant significant funds for a border wall, which he deems necessary to tackle the "crisis" of thousands of undocumented migrants crossing the United States southern frontier.

"The main thing is to inform about what we're already doing on the migration issue, and if it's necessary, to reinforce these measures without violating human rights", he said.

"These tariffs will be paid by American families and businesses without doing a thing to solve the very real problems at the border", said Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Economists and business groups are sounding alarms over the tariffs, warning they will hike the costs of many Mexican goods that Americans have come to rely on and impair trade. He said he thinks the United States is ready to discuss its threat to impose the tariff, effective June 10, as a means to combat illegal migration from Central America.

"Manufacturers have been working hard to secure passage of the U.S. -Mexico-Canada Agreement, and the last thing we want to do is put that landmark deal and the 2 million manufacturing jobs that depend on North American trade in jeopardy", Timmons warned. The president has already touted the free trade deal as a signature achievement of his administration, making his decision to impose tariffs on Mexico appear all the more weird to supporters and critics.

Several top GOP lawmakers have expressed concerns that Trump's tariff threat could upend that deal.

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