The U.S. and Mexico: A Potential Trade Dispute

On 30 May, President Trump announced that the United States would begin issuing a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports, effective 10 June. This threat of tariffs is an ultimatum to the Mexican government to stop the inflow of immigration into the U.S., which mostly comes from Central America. According to the Washington Post, the tariff will begin 10 June and increase as time goes on: 10% on July 1st, as an incentive to stop the migrant flow. The tariff would increase 5% each month until it reaches 25%. where it would stay.

In the Washington Post, Glen Hamer, chief executive of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry said, “Mexico is our friend and neighbor, a partner in trade and security … The president’s announcement is baffling and, if carried out, will be terribly damaging.” Mexico responded strongly to President Trump’s intentions. According to the Washington Post, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stated in a letter to President Trump: “President Trump, social problems can’t be resolved through taxes or coercive measures.” While many do not support the tariff, President Trump’s loyal supporters back him. White House Trade adviser Peter Navarro supports the president’s decision. According to CNBC, Navarro stated, “Mexico must take back their country from the drug lords and cartels. The Tariff is about stopping drugs as well as illegals!”

I applaud Glen Hamer for his critique of President Trump’s tariff idea; I agree. Harming an ally, a trade partner’s economy and issuing them a nearly impossible ultimatum is nonsensical. Hurting Mexico’s economy would not strengthen our southern border but weaken it. If this tariff is put in place, it would cause more migrants to seek opportunities in the United States. A more proactive plan is needed to stem the flow of immigrants to the U.S. As a nation, we need to stop making band-aid plans and creating short term solutions. We instead need to look up the river and see where the problems stem from. In my opinion, we need to find a way to improve lives in Central America. I realize this is no easy task; corruption and violence are rampant, but measures need to be made. If we can alleviate the problems that people in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador face, they would have less reason to leave their families and lives behind and head for the United States.

For some context, President Trump’s explosive tariff plan came after 1,000 migrants in El Paso, Texas were detained on 29 May. According to the BBC, this was the largest group of migrants the agents have seen so far. This caused a rushed reaction from President Trump and supporting officials. According to the White House, President Trump plans to implement the tariff on Mexican imports by using the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which is used in national emergencies and allows the president to act more effectively. According to CNN, this is the first time the Act has been used to issue a tariff. A Mexico-U.S. summit is planned for 5 June to discuss the trade dispute.

I encourage all Americans to educate themselves on the lives of migrants heading to the U.S. and what they are fleeing. By educating ourselves on the problem, we can come together to create a solution.