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Trump tariff threat to Mexico is just a negotiation

Headshot of Greg Johnson, Produce Blue Book's Director of media development.

President Donald Trump says the U.S. will tack a 5 percent tariff on all products imported from Mexico starting June 10, until Mexico helps the illegal border crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border.

If Mexico will not help, the tariffs will raise to 10 percent July 1, 15 percent Aug. 1, 20 percent Sept. 1, 25 percent Oct. 1 and remain at 25 percent.

Such a tariff would impose great costs on the produce industry.

The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas said May 31 that “Americans will be paying an extra $3 billion for avocados, tomatoes, mangos and other fruits and vegetables if 25 percent tariffs on Mexican imports into the U.S. take effect in October. ‘This is a tax on healthy diets, plain and simple,’ said FPAA President Lance Jungmeyer. ‘With the obesity epidemic, this is completely unacceptable and counterproductive in dealing with the migrant issue at hand.’”

FPAA BB #:144354 is justified in sending this warning, but I don’t believe Trump’s threat will lead to a tariff next week.

Many times, we’ve seen Trump make legitimate sounding threats regarding immigration before backing down. I believe we’ll see this play out here again.

Trump ran on, and was elected president in 2016, on his message of economic nationalism, which he said meant better trade deals for Americans, fewer business regulations, limiting immigration and building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Despite all his threats, illegal immigration continues in higher levels than in the Obama Administration, and no border wall has been built.

Trump has a history of making noise on a wall and failing to see it through.

His first budget in 2017 asked for $25 billion for the wall from Congress, which was controlled by his fellow Republicans. Congress offered $1.3 billion to continue the border security program, which Trump signed.

In December, Trump demanded $5.7 billion for the wall and threatened to veto any bills without it. This led to a 35-day government shutdown, but again, Congress allocated no money for a wall.

This spring he said he would send illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities to punish the Democrats running them, but nothing ever came of it.

“The latest threat from the President will harm American consumers and U.S. businesses first and foremost,” Jungmeyer said in the release. “This takes us backwards as a country and threatens USMCA passage at a critical time in moving this agreement forward.”

I agree, and I expect Trump to agree and back off this threat.


Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services