PHOENIX — In a move that could damage the Arizona economy, President Trump late Thursday declared he intends to impose a 5 percent tariff on Mexican imports -- potentially rising to 25%.
The action, first announced in a Twitter post, comes as the president is increasingly frustrated with migrants from Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras showing up at the U.S. border and seeking asylum. And it comes just hours after Trump, speaking at the White House, vowed “very dramatic’’ action to address the situation.
“On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP,’’ the president said in the posting. But that’s not where it’s going to end.
Trump, in a follow-up prepared statement, said the tariffs will go to 10 percent on July 1, 15 percent a month later, 20 percent a month after that, and finally 25 percent by Oct. 1.
“Tariffs will permanently remain at the 25 percent level unless and until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory,’’ the statement reads. And it says that the question of whether Mexico has taken the proper steps to stem the flow -- and whether to end the tariffs -- is “to be determined in our sole discretion and judgment.’’
Gov. Doug Ducey, in a prepared statement, appeared to side with the president despite the economic risks to the state.
“I prioritize national security and a solution to our humanitarian crisis at the border above commerce,’’ he said, despite what the governor said is his personal opposition to tariffs. Ducey said he has reached out to “our friends in Mexico,’’ including elected officials, law enforcement and the faith community to “work together to alleviate this crisis.’’
But Glenn Hamer, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the president’s announcement is “baffling and, if carried out, will be terribly damaging.’’
“This will only inflict harm on the U.S. consumer,’’ he said. And Hamer pointed out that tariffs are not paid by the foreign country or even the foreign company that is exporting the goods, but are added on to the costs for customers here.
Hamer said there will be specific impacts on Arizonans -- and not just in making avocados more expensive.
He specifically cited disruption of the supply chain for the state’s nascent auto manufacturing industry.