Council of the Americas (COA), composed of more than 230 member companies throughout the hemisphere and the world, is deeply concerned about U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposal to impose escalating tariffs on U.S. imports from Mexico as a means to address bilateral migration issues. According to the president, tariffs are to be instituted at 5 percent beginning June 10, 2019, rapidly moving to 25 percent, absent undefined steps from Mexico to halt migration across our shared border.
Everyone agrees migration issues must be addressed. But harming the economies of the United States and Mexico is the wrong way to do it. Mexico is already taking significant steps to address the matter and, since December, has returned more than 80,000 migrants to their home countries—mostly Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
Additionally, the 5 million U.S. jobs that depend on trade with Mexico, many in border and agriculture states, will be put at risk, amplifying the economic difficulties many already face from disruptions in trade with China.
"These tariffs will not only harm relations with what is now the United States' top trade partner but jeopardize millions of jobs, hurt American consumers, and threaten the U.S. economy," says Susan Segal, president and CEO of the Council of the Americas.
Since our founding, Council of the Americas has been a champion of the view that U.S. economic well-being is greatly enhanced by engagement with our North American neighbors and all of Latin America and the Caribbean. We were the earliest proponents of a free-trade agreement with Mexico that became NAFTA, and we have strongly supported the Trump administration’s efforts to update and enhance North American trade and investment via the USMCA.
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