In a surprise announcement that could derail a major trade deal, President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he is slapping a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports, effective June 10, to pressure the country to do more to crack down on the surge of Central American migrants trying to cross the U.S. border.
He said the percentage will gradually increase — up to 25% — “until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied.”
The decision showed the administration going to new lengths, and looking for new levers, to pressure Mexico to take action — even if those risk upending other policy priorities, like the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a trade deal that is the cornerstone of Trump’s legislative agenda and seen as beneficial to his reelection effort. It also risks further damaging the already strained relationship between the U.S. and Mexico, two countries whose economies are deeply intertwined.
Trump made the announcement by tweet after telling reporters earlier Thursday that he was planning “a major statement” that would be his “biggest” so far on the border.
With files from the Associated Press
Jock O’Connell, international trade adviser for Beacon Economics