The White House on Thursday said President Donald Trump is considering a 20% tax on imports from Mexico to pay for a southern border wall, but that the President is still weighing other options.
Hours later, amid an uproar from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, Press Secretary Spicer said that he was simply putting forward one idea Trump is considering to show how the administration could fund the multi-billion-dollar construction of a wall on the US’s southern border.
“The U.S. has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers of jobs and companies lost,” the president tweeted. “If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.”
Mexico will pay for the wall “one way or another,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said during the Thursday briefing. He announced plans to impose a 20 percent border tax on Mexican imports into the US.
Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico’s economy minister, said Thursday that
Since 1994, the US has had a free trade agreement with Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has eliminated of most tariffs on products traded between the countries involved. And any tax would leave US consumers to pay for the effects of the tax in the form of higher prices.
NAFTA has allowed Mexico to become the third largest supplier of imports to the US, with over $295 billion coming into the US each year
The 20 percent tax on annual Mexican imports would raise $10 billion a year to pay for the border wall, which is estimated to cost between $8 billion and $20 billion, Spicer said.
Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto cancelled on Thursday a scheduled meeting with US President Donald Trump next week amid a deepening dispute over a border wall promised by America’s new leader.
There was much debate over who would pay for the costly wall. Trump said throughout his campaign that he would force Mexico to pay for the wall, a proposal Mexico has repeatedly rejected.
The Mexican president’s rejection came after Trump said it was “better to cancel” the scheduled visit to Washington if Mexico was unwilling to foot the bill for a border wall.