Washington, May 31 (IANS) The US will impose a 5 per cent tariff on all Mexican imports from June 10 and duties of up to 25 per cent will be added in the coming months if Mexico does not take action to “reduce or eliminate the number of illegal aliens” crossing into America, the White House said.
“If the illegal migration crisis is alleviated through effective actions taken by Mexico, to be determined in our sole discretion and judgment, the tariffs will be removed. If the crisis persists, however, the tariffs will be raised to 10 per cent on July 1,” CNBC quoted the White House as saying in a statement on Thursday night.
“Tariffs will be increased to 15 per cent on August 1, to 20 per cent on September 1 and to 25 per cent on October 1.
“Tariffs will permanently remain at the 25 per cent level unless and until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory,” it added.
President Donald Trump first announced the Mexico tariffs in a series of tweets.
“On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5 per cent 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 tariff will gradually increase until the illegal immigration problem is remedied, at which time the Tariffs will be removed…,” he said.
Mexico was the second-largest importer of goods into the US in 2018, according to the Office of the USTR.
The US imported $346.5 billion of goods from Mexico in 2018, an increase of 10.3 per cent over the year prior. The 2018 total accounted for 13.6 per cent of overall American imports that year.
Mexico is also the largest foreign supplier of agricultural products to the US, totalling $26 billion last year, according to the USTR. Top categories among those imports included fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, wine and beer, and processed foods.
In response to the announcement, Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador in a letter addressed to Trump said he did not want confrontation, and that leaders have a responsibility to seek peaceful solutions to controversies, CNBC reported.
Lopez Obrador requested that US and Mexican officials begin meeting on Friday to discuss how to “reach an agreement for the benefit of both nations”.