Sunday, May 19, 2024

Trump threatens auto tariffs; gives MX one year to halt drugs, immigration

United States President Donald Trump threatened today to impose tariffs on Mexican auto imports and close the U.S. border if Mexico doesn’t stop drug and migration flows into the country within a year.

“We’re going to give them a one-year warning and if the drugs don’t stop or largely stop, we’re going to put tariffs on Mexico and products, in particular cars, the whole ball game is cars . . . and if that doesn’t stop the drugs, we close the border,” he told reporters.

Trump expressed confidence that his plan would work because auto tariffs would cost Mexico a “massive number of dollars.”

He stressed that “we love Mexico, we love the country of Mexico [but] we have two problems – we have the fact that they allow people to pour into our country . . . and the other problem is drugs . . . much of the drugs coming into our country come through the southern border.”

On the former, Trump said “we need help from Mexico, if Mexico doesn’t give the help, that’s okay, we’re going to tariff their cars coming into the United States.”

The U.S. president claimed that authorities in Mexico have already heeded his threat to close the border if they didn’t make a better effort to stop the flow of migrants.

“For the last four days . . . Mexico has been capturing people and bringing them back to their countries at their southern border. They’ve been taking people under their very powerful laws . . . and they’re bringing them back to where they came from,” Trump said.

“If we don’t see people apprehended and brought back to their countries, if we see these massive caravans coming up to our country, coming right through Mexico . . . The only thing frankly better but less drastic than closing the border is to tariff the cars coming in and I will do it, you know I will do, I don’t play games, I’ll do it,” he continued.

Placing tariffs on vehicles made in Mexico or Canada would contravene the new North American free trade agreement but the United States could impose the duties on national security grounds under section 232 of the U.S. Trade Expansion Act as it did last year with steel and aluminum.

Fears have been steadily mounting on both sides of the border in recent days that Trump would follow through on his threat to close the border this week, a move whose impact could be catastrophic for both countries.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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